Four days before Wolfgang Klautt died, peacefully in his easy chair, I sat next to him with my hand in his.
He was showing me how to squeeze a trigger.
Klautt is the reason Pemberton has a Junior Pistol Club, the Sharpshooters program. This season, his work is carried on by guys like Al McEwan, but his spirit is still in the room, especially when someone whispers to you in a faux German accent, ‘don’t jerk the trigger.’
Klautt arrived in Pemberton at 72 years of age – a friend from Ontario had relocated here and told him he would love it.
He had grown up in a German village famed for its Schutzgild, which fielded generations of Olympic shooters to represent their country. He might have done so too, were it not for the war.
When he emigrated to Canada in the 1950s, he got involved with a riding club and became the shooting instructor.
When he arrived in Pemberton, attending a Pemberton Wildlife Association meeting, when someone said, “we really need something for the kids,”, Wolfgang raised his hand, “I might be able to help you there.”
Hundreds of kids have gone through his program in Pemberton, and it is still in demand.
“Shooting is about self control and concentration,” he said and he squeezed my hand with his trigger finger so gently that nothing moved.
Keep your eyes open, his father taught him. It’s that simple.
The world is a beautiful place. Keep your eyes open.