Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Never let her down – part 2

Never let her down part 1

by Tom Gaylord

For the next several weeks that gun was our constant companion, going out into the field on military maneuvers and fighting marauding bandits and Indians. As we played with it, its stature grew in our minds, until there was nothing that gun could not do. It was perfectly accurate, unbelievably powerful and never out of ammunition. It kicked like a mule when it fired, but both Dennis and I were such hardy sportsmen that we never took notice. And we were certain that if the gun could ever be repaired, it would fulfill our wildest dreams.

Dennis' father looked at the gun one day and decided it could be fixed rather easily. All it took was a few small parts that he thought were easy to make. He was a handy guy who was always fixing something out in his garage, so this shouldn’t have surprised me.

I had reservations about letting him fix the gun, though, for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn't as sure of his gunsmithing skills as he was. What if he tore it apart and couldn't get it back together again? Then I wouldn't even have a toy anymore. But worse than that, I think, was the possibility that he could fit it, which would leave me with a working gun. My mother would never go for that. If it worked, I could lose it forever.

Still, it's hard for a kid of seven to have a conversation like that with an adult. It seems strange after all these years that I was as astutely aware of the politics of the situation at seven, but believe me—I was!

So, Mr. Cathcart tore into the gun one Saturday, and, after three hours of work, he proved as good as his word. The gun was repaired and shooting. Dennis and I watched him the entire time, fascinated by the ingenuity he employed to get the job done. With just a few pieces of heavy wire and a small spring he found in his garage, he made the repair like a real gunsmith.

The moment of truth came when he was finished. The gun was ready to shoot. Since we didn't have any BB shot laying around, the three of us walked to the hardware store to buy some. They sold it in small paper tubes for a nickel, I think, and Mr. Cathcart treated us to the first tube.

Once we had the shot, there was no delaying the moment of truth. Mr. Cathcart let me fire the first shot because the gun was mine. I had been practicing for this moment for so many weeks that I was fully prepared for that shot, although the feel of a working trigger was a little strange.

We had been pretending that the back of the trigger guard was the trigger when the gun didn't work, and of course the new trigger was in a different position. The real trigger pull was very hard, but it broke cleanly and I managed to hit a jar lid about 15 feet away with the very first shot. Dennis had oiled the gun so well that the power was fully restored, so when we examined the lid, we found the shot had dented it deeply and even cracked the metal at the bottom of the dent. I was in seventh heaven! Now I had a real gun and it shot like a dream.


Post a Comment

<< Home