My First Experience with BP:
In the spring of 1980, when I was 15, I went back to see my family in Western Kentucky, in the ‘Land Between The Lakes.’ During the vist, we drove out to my great grandfather Jesse Schoaler’s place, between Gracie and Cadiz, Kentucky.
Jesse stood 6 feet tall and weighted about 175 pounds. He was slim and agile. His white hair was full and his black and blue checkered flannel long sleeve and jeans were clean and free of wrinkles. Jesse, who died in 1983 at the age of 103, and I were sitting on the front porch swing looking out across the field of sunflowers across the highway. A vast expanse of woods flowed across the land, behind the sunflower fields, and up a hill on his property.
Jesse had a .50 Hawken leaned up against the porch post, loaded and capped. As we were talking, he leaned over and pointed out to the sunflower field. He said with a grin, looking at me over his black framed glasses, “Young Billy, take up that musket and harvest me that tall flower a yonder.”
I sat in disbelief and asked him what he meant. Laughing, he said, “Fetch that rifle and pluck me that yonder sunflower with a musketball…that is, of course, if you think you can.”
I had never fired a black powder arm before, but had done a lot of shooting with my Remington Model 510 Targetmaster, so all I needed was a little instruction. Jesse explained how pulling the rear trigger set the front for a light pull. I took up the rifle, leaned against the carved porch post and drew a bead on the stalk, probably 50-75 yards away.
Once I had a good sight picture, I pulled the rear trigger and moved my finger to the front trigger. Easing into the trigger I was rewarded with a surprise release and a thunderous boom and cloud of putrid white smoke.
Jesse chuckled and then said, “Behold! Yonder flower stands fast! You need some more practice young Billy!”
About this time, the big sunflower swayed a bit to the right and then fell to the ground with a dusty cloud.
I smiled proudly.
Jesse leaned forward and squinted, then laughed and said, “Well I’ll be dammed young Billy, I’ve been trying to do that for 60 years!”
About this time, great grandma called us to the table for lunch.
I enjoyed that visit immensely…