I learned my first lesson with a gun before I ever owned my first one. I grew up on a tobacco and cotton farm in central North Carolina at the head of Drowning Creek, near the little town of Candor. The woods began just outside our back door. I tagged along behind my dad and older brother George when they went hunting from the time I was knee high to a tadpole, long before I was old enough to be trusted with my own gun. One day I was tagging along with my dad, older brother and a few others during rabbit season when rain forced us to take shelter for a while under the roof of one of my dad's tobacco barns. I was no more than 7 or 8 at most. As we stood under the shelter waiting for the rain to stop, I was standing next to one of my dad's friends, who was showing off his brand-new Browning 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun. She was a beauty and I was all eyes. The man saw my look of wonder and asked me, “Son, would you like to shoot it?” I imagine he expected me to say no, but I didn't. “Sure,” I said, hardly believing he was serious. Maybe he was serious and maybe he wasn't, but when I agreed, he showed me how to hold it, pointed up to a clump of mistletoe in the top of a tree and said “Shoot that.” Then he flipped the safety off. I raised up the shotgun to aim and found my arms were too short to put the butt to my shoulder. So I just tucked the butt under my armpit, sighted and pulled the trigger. “Boom!” Next thing I know, the shotgun butt is on the ground and I'm holding the barrel in both hands. My dad's friend gingerly took the still loaded-and-ready-to-fire-again shotgun from my hands and flipped the safety back on. Then everybody had a good laugh, including me. He didn't ask me if I wanted to shoot it again, but I would have. I didn't have enough sense to know that 12 gauge auto was more gun than my little jaybird behind could handle. No. 1 Lesson Learned With A Gun: Don't shoot more gun than you can handle. (Or as Clint Eastwood said in one of his Dirty Harry movies, “A man's got to know his limitations.”) What lessons have you learned with a gun? I'll add more of mine later. Let's hear some of yours.