The following was recently submitted by a guest writer.  I have named it "Real Men" and will later insert it in chronological order.   Mary

An addendum by Todd         

Real Men  (2011) by Kevin Beam

First, let me introduce myself.  I'm Kevin Beam, and Todd and I have been friends since we were in high school when we enjoyed programming, playing computer games, and just generally engaging in mischief.  Todd has taught me a lot of things over the years, some of which are actually good.

As we got older and had families of our own, our wives (don't be fooled by the plural 'wives', we each have only one: his wife Nancy and my wife Laura) have been good friends as well.  Even better, our girls (their Erin and Allison and our Cassandra, Rebecca, and Johanna) have been best buddies for a long time and always have a great time together.  So when we decided to spend New Year's together on the farm, we were all looking forward to it.

Now it says here in my copy of the Constitution (Amendment 2), that every citizen enjoys the right to keep and bear arms.  Not being one to let any right go un-enjoyed, I asked Todd if I could bring down a couple of my guns when we visited so we could do a little shooting.  Todd, also being one to enjoy his rights, readily agreed.

I brought down two guns recently acquired: a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic 22 rifle and a Sig-Sauer P226 40 S&W semi-automatic
pistol.  The Ruger 22 is a really beautiful little gun, perfect for plinking' on the farm.  That basically means scrounging up lots of
tin cans, pop cans, milk cartons, wood, and shooting them to bits.  It comes with a 10-round magazine, but I bought a 25-round magazine for it which makes shooting it much more fun: not so much time spent loading the magazine, and a lot more time spent shooting holes in things.

Todd found his dad's (Larry) 22 rifle as well.  I believe it's a Marlin and it also is a beautiful rifle.  His had a scope on it which made it much more effective and accurate.  After shooting his rifle with a scope, I later decided to buy one for my Ruger.  The Sig Sauer P226 pistol is used by many special forces and law enforcement agencies around the world.  In fact, it's used by the U.S. Navy SEALs, and at least one member of the team that killed Osama bin Laden carried this gun.  The Sig Sauer is a German/ Swiss gun and, while a bit complex, is really an excellent gun.  It's well engineered and seems to operate extremely well, so far as I've used it.

This past summer Todd found a gun dealer in a nearby town who was selling the Mosin/Nagent 91/30 Russian rifle.  This gun was used up through WWII by the Russians and, as I understand it, was used by the famous Russian sniper Vasily Zaytsev in the battle of Stalingrad.  If you've seen the excellent movie "Enemy at the Gates" with Ed Harris and Jude Law, then you've seen this gun.  We each bought one (they were pretty cheap), and did a little shooting with those guns as well.  I hope to use mine for deer hunting one of these years.

We had a great time target shooting and I'm grateful to the Conley's for allowing us to do so on the farm.  We always enjoy visiting and seeing the incredible work they are all doing in restoring this land and home.  It's really a beautiful and peaceful place.  Thank you for sharing it with us.

Playing "Real Men" (I mean real men playing) are Kevin on the left and Todd on the right!  :)

Addendum by Todd:

When I heard that a local gun dealer had a crate of Mosen Nagants for sale for $100 each, I was immediately interested.  I had been hoping to buy a hunting rifle someday and I knew this was a classic gun.  A few years ago I had played through a computer game about WWII called "Call of Duty" that contains many campaigns from the perspective of the Allied forces, and in the Russian campaign I had become familiar with the Mosen Nagant.  It seemed too good to pass up, so I called the dealer and reserved one.

What a surprise was waiting for me when I arrived at the gun shop a few days later!  Not only was the gun in beautiful unfired condition with a dark wood stock, but it came with a goodie bag containing original ammo pouches like my fellow Russians carried in "Call of Duty"!  Best of all, it came with a removable bayonet!  I laughed out loud as I left the store, wondering half seriously which situation was the game and which was real.
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