Couple of weekends ago, I was struck by how disrespectful some of the younger generation have become these days. Seems like when I was growing up, children were to perhaps be seen but not heard, right? Happened thisaway.

I was carrying on a light conversation with an older, mature adult, though to be honest about it, we were doing so at some distance between us, yet our discourse was extremely friendly. As I was sitting there, here comes this gang – only word that fits here, in this situation – of juveniles, about fifteen of them. They crowded in betwixt me and the other adult, with no regard for manners. I lost sight of the object of my conversation – well, actually, our conversation ceased – as they approached where I sat, milling about and gawking at me, though I certainly didn’t want their attention, and tried to make that plain by totally ignoring them.

You cannot ignore youngsters like those. They kept coming closer and closer, at times breaking into a run, rather like they were competing with each other to see who could best disrupt my pleasant morning. I caught brief glimpses of my former conversant, but was unable to attract his attention, with this gang now strutting about, flexing their muscles as if trying to impress any maidens they might imagine would be looking their way, occasionally breaking into macho posturing amongst themselves. Rudeness personified! What mothers might have raised youngsters as ill-mannered as these?

I cast my gaze down into my lap in an effort to have them bypass me. Oh, don’t misunderstand me here: I was not atall afraid of these juveniles; they didn’t scare me. I just chose not to dignify their conduct by deigning to acknowledge their presence. Sometimes rude youngsters will go off and leave you alone, if you refrain from letting them know that they have succeeded in antagonizing you.

Alas, it was not to be. They crowded even closer. Fifteen of them within fifteen feet of me, milling about, getting in the way, now and again making rude noises while watching intently for any reaction from me.

Okay, my instincts began to say: you want a rumble, I’ll give you one. I had managed to get my hand on my weapon unseen as they approached. Now I eased the safety off and tried to pick out the biggest one, who would probably be the leader. He did it for me, marching right up into my face, coming eyeball to eyeball with me. If it had been raining, we’d have been under the same umbrella – shoot, almost under the same hat brim, if it was a Stetson!

He may have seen my gun, being that close. It should have frightened him, but he didn’t act thataway. He uttered a series of crudities, shook his head uncivilly, and began to stalk away as if he was actually somewhat disgusted with MY behavior!

This was too much. My adult conversant was forgotten as my hand tightened on the gun, safety off, to teach this juvenile a lesson he’d never forget!

Then reason prevailed: there’s a law against that, whether I agreed with it or not! As Betsy has warned me before, “They’ll put you under the jail, if you shoot him!”

I didn’t do it. I let him, I let them all walk away. I endured their uncouth, vulgar display and rose above it, though my trigger finger itched. Still itches, when I think about it. It’s itching now!

Some laws I disagree with, in certain circumstances. In this case, I really think I would have been justified in shooting that gang leader. Used to be, in this country, that the law wasn’t concerned with killing juvenile delinquents like that. The laws protecting these types have been passed relatively recently, and the “He needed killing” defense used to be enough! I say, we ought to go back to those old days.

Besides, those young gobblers taste better than the older birds. Much tenderer.

The young gobblers – “Jakes” or “Blue Johns,” we call them – stayed around me for at least 20 minutes, while the one big gobbler refused to come quite into range, strutting and pirouetting in a clearing about fifty yards away. Wouldn’t have made much difference if he had been forty yards – I couldn’t move to get my gun on him with all those Jakes around me, anyway. And I sure couldn’t call, maybe give him a whine and cluck.

He knew where I was exactly. He sent the youngsters in to check me out, while he remained just out of range. They done it to me again, I thought as I left the woods at noon.