I believe it was my dad's UNloaded 22 pistol. Wore it with a six-gun holster, a Western hat, vest, jeans and a pair of "SK's aka 'shit kickers'" as we called our cowboy boots back in those days.
It was either a Hello Week or Homecoming Week dress-up day at Sandpoint High School, and the theme must have been "cowboys."
Of course, I loved that cuz I came from a farm family who loved all things Western, and my dad had plenty of firearms to choose from for the costume.
My dad also made sure the weapon was safe, with no bullets, before I ever took it out of the house. I think someone even took my picture, sitting at my teacher's desk and loving every minute of playing cowboy in the classroom.
I'm sure I wasn't the only person packing a gun that day. More than likely several students and other teachers did also.
Nobody thought a thing of it at the time.
That was then, and this is a very different time in history.
I would never even consider wearing a weapon to school now, for costume or protection, even knowing the potential that some disturbed individual might go ballistic and come through the school doors shooting.
We've seen far too many examples of senseless horror in our schools in the past 15-20 years, where innocents have been mowed down for no better reason than being in the wrong place at the same time that some unfortunate soul is suffering from insane rage.
Unfortunately, no one can predict when, where or if this can happen again, and so the never-ending question faces us----what do we do to prevent such tragedies?
In some cases, I believe no answer exists. Better security systems and procedures in schools over the past several years have certainly provided deterrents. But there's always the exception of someone who has outwitted the system and found a way to enter a location to inflict harm.
Providing the safest possible environment for our young people and the people who work with them through a school day will continue to be an ongoing challenge. I think it's safe to say that we all passionately feel the need to find the best fix.
Such a discussion is now creating some widely differing views among the Lake Pend Oreille School District 84 School Board, school staff members and the school district constituents.
Whenever a topic generates varying and strong views, it's time for journalism to step in and try to sort out the pertinent and accurate information and present it in a packaged format to help decision-making.
That is precisely what the student journalists on the Cedar Post staff at Sandpoint High School have attempted to do through interviews with school trustees Steve Youngdahl and Mindy Cameron who have expressed opposing views about the proposal to arm teachers in the schools.
Certainly there's more information out there, and we can also read opinion pieces in the local papers, but the Cedar Post effort to feature two strong voices in the discussion is laudable and informative.
Hope you have time to listen and watch watch these trustees as they answer some very relevant questions in this controversial topic.