I’m The Gunner
David Koontz is fifty-three year old man who was born in the rural farming community of Bedford, Pennsylvania. As a young adult he joined the United States Air Force during which time he converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He then went to BYU and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in International Relations. He has served in the United States Air Force for over thirty years and earned the rank of Colonel. Currently he is stationed in Washington DC, but plans to retire next year and move to Mendon, Utah to live with his family. David enjoys Family History research, reading history books, doing yoga, and looks forward to the time when he can have his own colony of beehives. David is my father.
I recently Skyped with David and asked him to refresh my memory of exactly what happened and this is what he told me.
Pappy and his friends Landy Henry and Earl Imler were out shooting deer illegally. They went up in the fields on the ridge at night using a spotlight. Landy shot at the deer and missed. So Pappy said “Landy give me the gun, you can’t even shoot the broad side of a barn.” Pappy shoots and misses. Earl says “Koontz give me the gun.” Earl shoots, hits the deer and kills it. They loaded the deer up in back of the truck and to Landy’s shed to skin it. Put the deer up and start drinking beer and whiskey. They end up doing more drinking than skinning and after while they decided to skin the deer up. It’s important to know Earl Imler could never hold his liquor and became drunk quick. Pappy was always skinner. The deer was hung up and as Pappy was skinning it and got to the part where he was going to take out the entrails Earl was siting in the corner drunk saying, “HA HA I don’t have to skin the deer cuz I’m the gunner, my father was a descendant of Daniel Boone. You guys can’t hit anything; I got it, I’m the gunner. After listening to this for a time Pappy leaned over to Land and said, “Watch this.” He took the knife and punctured the stomach. Now the deer in the area had been eating alfalfa and corn and it ferments in their stomach. All of the gases in the stomach came hissing out and filled up the shed. Earl had a weak stomach for smells so once he got a nose-full of the fumes he exclaimed, “Dammit, Koontz why’d you go and…” He said this as he ran to the door, cursing under breath. Once he made it outside he stood over the manure spreader just started heaving. Pappy and Landy watched this and died laughing saying, “Yep you’re the gunner.”
Dad was tired so he wasn’t as animated as he usually is when he tells stories, but he chuckled throughout.
This is one of the many pranks and practical jokes my grandfather did. He was a jokester and I can’t think of him any other way. I think sometimes we think of our grandparents as boring old people when in most cases that is far from the truth and these stories of Pappy prove that we are the same person as we grow older as we were when we were younger.