Sporting Clays, Aunt Joan & Sour Cherries

By on June 2, 2017

Great week! Joe and I visited family, toured the desert around Las Vegas and Lake Mead, and came home to nature’s bounty.


My shotgun stance is improving. The bent knee, forward lean, shoulder over the knee are all good support in dynamic movement and recoil support.


See the small orange dot hanging in the air?

Sporting Clays in the Las Vegas Foothills

It was 82 degrees at 8:00am Sunday, when Choppo, my cousin’s husband, whisked Joe and I off to the foothills outside Las Vegas to join his buddies for their weekly shoot. Venue: sporting clays at the Clark County Shooting Complex. Upon arrival, Chop opened his trunk and handed me his pre-1970 Browning 20-gauge shotgun, over and under. Simple, elegant, well used. Joe was handed a Benelli with a 30-inch barreled choked for clays. With water and guns in hand and ammo stowed, six of us rode in 2 golf carts to access the 15 shooting stations of the West Range. This shooting complex, the largest of its kind in the country, is smartly laid out and top notch in every way. The desert view, amazing.

[I was a long way in space and time from the first and last time I shot sporting clays–on castle grounds in Ireland, with my Dad. The groundskeeper doubled as the shooting steward. When he came to collect us, he was wearing tweed knickers and cap, waxed cotton barn coat, and tall muck boots. (My heart fluttered….). I digress.]

With my focus on self defense shooting in the home, I’ve been wanting to shoot moving targets. Be careful of what you ask for! Orange clay birds were launched from left, right, and behind. Some high, some low. It was exasperating and thrilling.

But that event doesn’t hold a candle to the real purpose of our visit: to visit Aunt Joannie, my Dad’s sister.

Drinks Beer, Yells at Hockey Players & Sweet as a Kitten


My cousin Cindy is an excellent package of smarts, compassion, dry wit, knowing glances, and a really big heart. She gets a goodly portion of that from her Mom, my Dad’s sister. Visiting Aunt Joan, now 83, had long been on my bucket list. My husband made it happen.

First evening: Three Angry Widows Irish pub (of course). The Penguins were early in the playoffs. We sat at the bar, Guinness appeared. I was getting into the game when the little old lady next to me, my dear aunt yelled, Kill him! Break his leg! Holy moly–she sounded just like my Dad !

Over the next 2 days, we covered ancient family history, and recounted close family members no longer with us. We relished being together in the here and now. The hugs coming in were welcoming. The embrace upon leaving was akin to a hold on life. Tears sprung from deep wells. It was a most excellent time….desert beauty, sporting clays, and deep sympatico family.

And, upon returning home, a surprise…

The Exploding Sour Cherry Tree

Our sour cherry tree hosts green lichens, exudes sap, and stands despite weak crotches. It’s a marvel it’s come this far. We have no idea how old it is, I bet it’s been in the ground since Jimmy Carter was president, or when that Browning shotgun was made. It’s 1 of 5 mature fruit trees that were big reasons why we bought our crooked bungalow. This tree alternates annually between high and low yields, but this year: Wow! We’re looking at a bumper harvest. Lucky me…Joe makes terrific pies !


With this perfect weather and ample rain, an incredible amount of cherries are ready and ripening fast. Time to pull out the ladder out and get up there with cherry-picking gratitude and attitude !


May all your calamities be averted !

Suzy Meyer, Author
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a landscape architect, gardener, and of late, a certified NRA instructor. I enjoy practicing T’ai Chi, playing bocce, and walking through watersheds.. This blog is my journey full of learning curves to calm the chaos.


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