Rottenweilers and Gas Meters, Circa 1996: Why I love Meter Men
Sheldon J's post about Pit Bulls reminded me of an incident in which I was involved back in 1996.
It was the weekend after opening day of rifle season. I had scored a nice buck on opening day, and since I was hunting in a bucks-only area, I was done for the season.
I was celebrating my good fortune at scoring the previous weekend, because the weather had turned Bad with a capital "B". It was 25-30 degrees and sleeting, and I was thinking of all the poor guys out in their stands, shivering . I was lounging around my living room, in front of a fire, with my daughters playing at my feet.
I heard a very strange noise in the back yard and looked out the window. Two Rottenweilers were playing tug-O'-war with one of my daughters' cats.
They were promptly Remington 870'd.
Good a tale as that is by itself, it isn't all there is.
You see, you're supposed to KNOW what is BEHIND your target when you shoot- -even when using a shotgun with No. 4 shot.
In my case what was behind the first of the dawgs from the nether-regions was a gas meter. And I noticed an unfamiliar "whooshing" sound when I was dragging the dogs to the curb after having gone to the vet in a vain attempt to save poor Shaggy cat's life.
I put 2 and 2 together- a quick inspection of the meter revealed more than just a few No. 4-sized holes.
I called everybody. The cops, the Fire Department, the Gas Company, etc.
The cops came out, took down the serial number of my shotgun (after getting lost in the subdivision once), shrugged their shoulders, and took off. The fire department tried to have me arrested.
The Gas Company guy, however, was as cool a man as I have ever met. He was highly amused by the whole situation, and kept me from getting a ticket (or a trip to the crossbar hotel). He had asked his dispatcher on the way out to my house if the shotgun was secured- he wasn't coming out until it was...caution born of experience, I guess.
He told the FD boys to cool it, 'cause that sort of thing is something they take into account when designing meters and formulating what gets pumped into gas pipes. The absolute worst-case scenario would have been a single, weak, blue flame and that might have happened if I had been using a tracer.
Not only did he 'splain the situation to the Nervous Nellies at the Fire Department, he replaced the plate with the pellet holes. He also GAVE ME THE OLD ONE, COMPLETE WITH PELLET HOLES, which I treasure to this day as a cherished souvenir.