One day, as I stepped up to get into the bench seating area where we controlled the targets, someone yanked on a target. Between my inattention and his carelessness, the metal frame whacked me right in the head. 

Oops. Suddenly there was blood everywhere. 

This happened to be the day we were first sighting our .300 Win Mags. This was crucial: when first getting a new weapon we would have one day to dial it in, get all our elevations, and get the feel of the thing. I could not miss that day. I couldn’t miss any day. So they ran me out to the doctor’s, cleaned me up, slammed seven staples into my head, and ran me back to Coalinga. Within a few hours of the incident, I was back on the range, sighting in my new weapon. My head was pounding with every shot, and it felt like someone was nailing a steel spike into my skull. Tough. Deal with it. Adapt and overcome. 

A few weeks later, right after finishing the shooting phase, Gabriele and I had our official wedding ceremony and reception. (We had managed to keep the secret from my family.) Fortunately, my hair had grown in just enough so that the staples didn’t show in my wedding pictures.