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The repeated sounds of guns firing off over the hill behind our cottage interrupts the otherwise-peaceful quiet of this sunny Friday morning.

No, it’s not a conflict between two families who’ve been feuding for generations here in the rural foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though that would be a good guess.

No, today it’s the sound of a shooting range just over the highest hill on these 66 acres of forest and fields. These shots echo throughout the hills for several hours every weekend, when target practice is busiest.

The gun range’s shooting began after my childhood and adolescent years in these here parts. It started after I left the state of Virginia for college, marriage, children, a career, grandchildren and early-onset.

Though not necessarily in that order.

It’s going to take some time — if ever — for me to get used to these shots. Not like back at our other home in Iowa, where my immediate instincts after hearing sporadic shots fired would lead me to reach for my .380 pistol and then call 911.

Who knows, maybe I’d become an acclaimed local legend. Then again, maybe I’d face prison time.

The sounds of bullets suddenly whizzing over my head — or rather, over the hill—bring me back to real life, and my recording of it here on Facebook.

Am I just journaling while I still have the ability to remember? Or merely entertaining my online friends, pretending to be my generation’s Johnboy Walton?

It’s about time for lunch, as I stride over to my parents’ home for leftover chicken, a fresh orange and a glass of apple juice from the fridge.

I’ve just driven up the hill to meet Mindy. We prepare to drive 75 minutes away to the home of her daughter Laura, her husband and their baby Cooper in another county, and we’re leaving just as the endless sounds of target practicing has paused.

Oh well, we’ll be back here in Ferrum before the end of the weekend. For more peace and quiet. And likely to dine on more leftover fried chicken and fresh store-bought oranges.

And, of course, to listen to more gunshots ringing from over what’s probably the biggest hill in Ferrum, Virginia.

Eventually, life here on the east coast will both feel and sound like home. Except on the weekends, at least.

Goodnight, John-boy. Goodnight, Elizabeth.

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