Tales from the Umpqua Valley

As I am ringing up the older gentleman’s ammo he says to me, “Makin’ sure that I’m ready when shit goes down with the Chinese…”.

“Oh yeah, The Chinese? You think it’s getting close huh?” I ask, making simple small talk. That is part of providing good service.

He looks at me like I’m crazy and responds, “You don’t know? Don’t you follow what’s happening on the internet?”

“I guess not, because I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” I reply.

“There are currently about 80,000-150,000 Chinese soldiers marching this way through Canada!” He explains like I have been living with my head buried in the sand.

“Really?! And Canada is just letting them cruise right on through? And none of the US military have noticed” I ask, with sarcasm that is only obvious to people familiar with me.

“They (The Canadians) are supplying them with food and stuff because they are all teamed up to invade us! You really need to start paying attention and getting your family ready.” He offers his fatherly advice.

“I will definitely have to do some research on that. I don’t wanna get blindsided ya know. You have a fantastic day sir.” I tell him with a smile as he heads for the door.

One of my favorite things about running this type of business is the customers. And, more specifically, the stories. I have learned that there are a lot of people out there with vastly different beliefs, superstitions, theories, and overall mental conditions than myself. But who am I to argue. Just because Bigfoot (Sasquatch) has never thrown a rock through the window of my log truck and hit me in the side of the head, doesn’t mean it’s never happened to someone else. I try to keep an open mind and not criticize other people’s beliefs. Although I will admit, I have become pretty good at the subtle art of sarcasm. I have noticed that a good amount of people feed into conspiracy theories and superstitions. And, probably because of where we live, there are a ton of believers in mythical beasts. Here are just a couple of my favorite tales from the Umpqua Valley. Hopefully none of the people who these stories belong to are offended by me sharing them.

One gentleman, we will call him “Bug Guy”, was telling us all about the biggest political conspiracy of all time. The whole problem is that 99% of all politicians and city officials are actually aliens that have been here since the pyramids were built. They have figured out how to take on the appearance of humans, but they actually look very similar to large insects. They have been controlling everything that happens throughout the world for hundreds of years and we are all just basically pawns in their game. Personally, I think he has watched too many Rowdy Piper movies. Well, “I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I am all out of bubble gum.”

During fire season this one guy got lost out in the woods at night. With the smoke and darkness, it was so dark he couldn’t even see his hand in front of his face. So, as you would expect, he got attacked by a sasquatch. Obviously, it was just freaked out due to the fire being so close because they are normally very gentle beasts and only get violent when they are scared or cornered. A knife fight ensued and while he didn’t kill the beast, he did draw blood before the giant creature ran away. If only he would have been able to see what was happening (And possibly setup his phone camera). But he will never forget Ol’ Squatchie’s BO, or his crazy grunting. Good thing that guy spends time training blindfolded for random prison shanking’s.

But I do have to say that some of the most amazing stories come from our first responder and military customers. And most of those really don’t have many embellishments. And I will tell you what. After listening to the tales of retired law enforcement officers from the 70’s and 80’s most of the crazy stuff you see in the movies, really did happen. It was definitely a different time. These folks deal with huge amounts of stress and public scrutiny on a daily basis, or have dealt with it in their past. We do our best to ensure that when they come into our shop, they are allowed to be regular people. They can unload and vent to us without judgement or criticism. And sometimes we are even here to provide a shoulder to cry on. And for provide this outlet, we get to hear the dirt! And sometimes we even get to witness it.

One afternoon an elderly man came in with his caretaker. He was clearly suffering from a bit of dementia but his caretaker was with him and he was just walking around and reminiscing things he enjoyed from his past. He told us that he had a pellet pistol that he used to get rid of ground squirrels and, asked if we could possibly get some kind of optic for it as his eyes didn’t work like they used to. We told him we would be happy to take a look at it if he wanted to bring it in some time. The next evening as the sun was starting to set, 3 police cars pulled into our lot and we watched as they pulled their rifles and headed down the sidewalk in a tactical formation. We later discovered that that poor, confused old man had left his home without supervision, and taken his pellet pistol into the convenience store down the block trying to get new sights. The clerk just saw an old man waving a gun around. Luckily nobody was hurt and the man was returned home safely.
On a different occasion we watched a woman walking naked down the middle of the highway out front of the shop. As you might expect, we were one of many 911 calls. We then watched 5 police officers wrestle an obviously drugged naked woman into custody in the lot next door as she fought them like a honey badger. It was something I will never forget.
In any case, it is a pretty regular occurrence that we go home with stories to entertain our families. And, while we do get the occasional customer of questionable mental standing, the vast majority of them are just exceptional people that have lived exceptional lives filled with spectacular stories. So, if your in need of some new toys or, you just have a crazy story that you can only tell in the company of an open minded sales clerk. We will be here waiting for you without judgement. At least until after you leave…

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