When I was a kid my idea of a great day was any day I had a chance to go to the Army Surplus Store in Fairfield, Ohio. Most of my cloths and equipment that fueled my childhood came from that one store. So it is no surprise that as an adult, some of my very best days still come from that same place, but now there are many more options for me than I ever dreamed of. Now when I need a good day free of the politics from the outside world, I go to Cabela’s in West Chester right across from the Liberty Center shopping complex and every single visit is just a wonderful experience. Specifically I go there to buy 209 shotgun primers for my Cowboy Fast Draw Association activities. I shoot between 50 to 100 rounds per day at my private range, so I go through a lot of primers and Cabela’s carries them in their reloading section which is easy to get to without a lot of hassle. At Bass Pro in nearby Forest Park they keep the primers behind the counter which means you have to get someone to help you, and I most of the time don’t feel like talking to anybody, so Cabela’s is where I buy most of them.
I love to have a hobby that gives me a reason to go to Cabela’s so often. I remember when it wasn’t so easy to get outdoor related equipment, and to get the best stuff you had to order it through the mail. This idea of everything you might need for some grand adventure being available at the slightest impulse is something I treasure greatly. On this latest visit it was a very nice spring day and I had a particularly stressful week. I enjoy the reloading section at Cabela’s because it oozes self-reliance and American ingenuity. I had recently returned from Europe where guns are extremely taboo so it was very nice to look around and see all the pro-American clothing, knives and guns that surround that section of the store. Then to consider that with the items you can get at Cabela’s you can pretty much become your own ammunition factory. If guns represent freedom from the tyranny of political mistakes—which happen all the time—the ability to reload your own ammunition is the next step and I never get tired of looking through their selection of dies, brass and powder to see what’s new.
I did see some .500 S&W Magnum ammunition that had only 350 grain bullets, which might not break the arm of guests I let shoot my big gun the next time I’m entertaining out-of-town clients. The price was only $32 for a box of twenty which was really good. People who come to America from places where you can’t have guns love to shoot guns if they get the chance. Back in the old days before the world went mad, such people went to strip clubs to see things they might not be able to see in their more rigid cultures. I’m personally not a fan of that kind of thing—but shooting is another matter, especially since West Chester now has a very good shooting range at Premier. Men especially, would rather shoot the big .500 Magnum which as I’ve stated has its own pillow in my bed with my wife and I, than they would seeing some T&A. You can see that anywhere these days, but shooting a big “man’s” gun isn’t, so reasonably priced ammunition at Cabela’s was a welcomed site.
Cabela’s is a purely American invention. Nowhere in Japan would anybody see anything like Cabela’s, where you can buy various nuts to eat and other snacks just twenty-five feet from guns, knives and ammo and each time I visit I think about just how nice it is. Everything at Cabela’s is big, like the way that American’s think. And even though we take them for granted in the United States, the water fountain at Cabela’s works really good—the bathrooms are big, and clean—it is just a really good place to visit to recharge your batteries. I was literally just in Paris a few weeks ago and I didn’t see a single water fountain anywhere—not in the train stations, not in the museums—nowhere. In the United States you can see them just about everywhere in public, but not in other places in the world. So in defiance and to celebrate the kind of abundance that American society produces, Cabela’s has a nice, beautiful water fountain that pushes up a nice stream of water that doesn’t require you to put your head too close to the fountain itself. In more primitive times you’d have to search out a creek that some animal hadn’t pissed in upstream to get some fresh water. But in modern society, especially at nice outdoor shopping complexes like Cabela’s, you can get a nice drink from the drinking fountain and come away stress free and hydrated to continue the hunt for whatever you were looking for.
I often think about the logistics it requires to offer things like drinking water to a water fountain, keeping bathrooms clean and ensuring that customers get everything they are looking for in a shopping experience that might not sell some items on the shelf for months after they had been acquired for display. It can be complicated. But at Cabela’s they feature a nice waterfall in the back of the store that has fish in it. It’s not nearly as nice as the one they have at Bass Pro in Forest Park, but the running water does give off a fresh air feeling that you might expect to feel on an early morning hike through the mountains. I’m aware of it as I go through the reloading section each time and I catch myself looking at the items on the shelf just a bit longer because it’s an enjoyable experience.
To a lot of people it probably seems like a small thing to think about, but I thought it worthy to note. I really appreciate my Cabela’s in West Chester. It is one of my favorite places to go and just knowing that I can get away for an hour or so and put my mind in such a positive place is very valuable. I’m more aware of it now because of my recent trip overseas. If I wasn’t doing a lot of shooting and had a reason to visit so often, I probably wouldn’t notice much. But having the ability to shoot in my garage and get my materials just a few miles away is something that is very unusual in the world. I recently spoke to a guy from Morocco who was working as a pizza guy in Canterbury just outside of the Westgate Towers and he was very interested in me and my cowboy hat that I wore in there to pick up food several times over the course of the month of February 2017. He wanted to know all about Donald Trump and if we could buy guns in our grocery stories. When he asked me that I thought of Cabela’s and I had to tell him truthfully that we could. He gave me the most exasperated look of excitement. “Really, you Americans are crazy,” he said with a smile. For which I replied, “ but nobody will try to invade us.”
At that moment the kid handed me my stacks of pizza and we exchanged money quietly saying nothing more, but both of us aware of some hidden tension coming from his direction. “Except for Obama.” I looked at him and thought for a moment of what he said. “You’re a pretty smart guy. You should come to America and make pizzas there. You might even get rich.” He smiled and said, “and I’ll be able to buy a gun?” I looked at him and said, “you could buy a gun, a nice pair of shoes, some new underwear and a giant can of almonds all under the same roof. And if you wanted to you could drive home with your very own boat attached to the back of your car. It’s called Cabela’s.” He smiled and said—“You make it sound like such a dream.” For which I said—“because it is. Have a nice day!”