Not many things surprise me, or even twitch my eyebrows upward.
That was, however, before I visited a family member’s home in a small Texas town last month.
I thought I was entering a movie scene, a takeoff of a modern day wild west film. Or maybe it was a documentary showing life in a cartel kingpin’s house.
But no, it was a low key family gathering, six of us breaking bread together and catching up on our latest comings and goings.
Just a normal visit in this sleepy village of 2,300 souls where simple folks live simple lives.
But wait, something was amiss.
My reality shifted abruptly when I saw the handgun strapped to the host’s belt.
Uh oh, what did this added level of security mean to my bodily safety?
Was he expecting armed invaders to descend on this quiet wide spot in the road? Did he have a drug dealer living next door and feared deadly encounters? Or perhaps they had rats in the attic and were prepared to do battle if one of the creatures meandered into their living space.
I didn’t know the answer, and being the coward, I am, I didn’t ask. I simply sat with my back to a wall, my hearing aids turned to their highest level, listening intently for any advancing danger, and my eyes darting at the front door and the opened windows.
Understand, I’m not new to guns. My dad did some hunting years ago, and my husband kept a handgun and several rifles in the house, so the sight of a firearm doesn’t send cold chills throughout my body.
I won’t argue personal apparel is up to each individual, however, wearing a gun in one’s home seemed a bit over the top. Who am I to question one’s fetishes or cautionary steps?
I was surprised, and a bit wary of the need to wear a gun while watching the latest Netflix series on your 40-inch TV screen or entertaining a small gathering of loved ones.
I did wonder if I poised some unspoken threat, or if the state of the world is creating deep seated fear? Perhaps gun-toting is the latest fashion statement in the great state of Texas.
The question goes unanswered, and I’m left with little understanding of the rational to wear a gun while frying chicken in your kitchen.
But before my next visit I’ll check to see if a bullet proof vest is the appropriate dinner attire. Heaven forbid I show up under dressed and under protected.