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Shooting Ed Patzke

Story ID:7142
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montan USA
Year:2011
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More memories from growing up in Bly, Oregon...

Shooting Ed PatzkeÖ
By Chuck Dishno

This incident occurred in the spring of 1950 or 51 when I was attending Bly High School.

It was a warm spring Saturday morning when my friend, Doyle Miller and I decided to take our 22 rifles and go target practicing and maybe ďplinkĒ some gophers..

I borrowed my Dadís 1947 Oldsmobile and we met at the Arch Theatre where I worked as a projectionist.

Across the street lived, Joe Kendal and his nephew Joe Schiller.

Schiller was about our age and loved to tag along where ever we went. When we told him were going to plink some gophers, he wanted to go along but didnít have a rifle. It soon occurred to him that his uncle had a small pump 22 rifle and since he wasnít home, he would go in and borrow it. We couldnít stay too long since he had to have it back before his uncle returned. We agreed to let him go along but he had to stop at Tikkanenís variety store to get some bullets.

Doyle and I sat in the front seat of the Olds while Joe rushed in and came out with a couple of boxes of ammo. Joe jumped into the back seat I had just started to back out when Joe decided to load his weapon. I donít remember if Joe had put any bullets in or there was already one left in the chamber but the next thing I heard was a loud bang as the rifle went off. We didnít think anything about it at the time or even wonder where the bullet went. We just headed out to Campbell road and stopped to shoot into Basil Hallís field at some gophers.

As soon as I went around to the passenger side of the car I saw that the bullet had gone completely through the door. Sticking out about an inch was some extruded metal where the bullet came through.

We laughed at our good luck that it didnít hit either one of us. I think I did give it some thought on how I was going to explain this to my Dad but wasnít too worried. Pop was a very reasonable person and I knew I wouldnít be in too much trouble.

After a while we had had our fill of shooting and returned home.

As soon as we drove into Bly, I noticed that Ed Patzke was standing out in front of his Shell Service Station. I waved to him and drove back to the theatre to let Doyle and Joe out. I then headed home to get some dinner and get ready for the eveningís movie. I again waved at Ed as I went by the station.

I had no sooner arrived home when there was a knock on the front door. I opened the door and there stood Willis Panke, the Bly Sheriff. He wanted to see my dadís car and told me I had just about killed Ed Patzke.

I later found out what had transpired. When the gun went off inside of the car, the bulled exited the door, bounced off the street and ricocheted into the lube room where Ed was changing a tire. It lodged about a foot or two above his head into a rafter. Ed didnít know where it had come from but since he had heard the ricochet, soon put two and two together when he saw me backing away from Tikkanenís and heading out of town. I guess he saw the extruded metal when I drove back and called the sheriff.

I donít remember where my Dad was at the time but when he found out about it he was very cool and said he was just glad we didnít kill poor old Ed.

I donít think Ed was too upset either but he might have been happier if Joe had bought the bullets at his place. At least he would have been shot at by one of his own bullets.

For years after that I remember him pointing out the beam where that slug was still lodged.

Years later, Roz and I stopped to see Ed and Opal and I recalled the incident. We both had a good laugh over our good fortune Ė his not getting shot and my not getting my butt beat.

I donít think Joe Kendal ever knew anything about the borrowing of his 22 rifle.

As for the Oldsmobile, I took a ball peen hammer, tapped the extruded metal back down, then put in a flat head screw which I painted with some black touch-up paint. You could hardly tell the difference. It wasnít long before the entire incident was just a memory.

Such was life in Bly.