Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Never let her down – part 3

Never let her down part 1
Never let her down part 2

by Tom Gaylord

Dennis did well on his first shot, too, and Mr. Cathcart was as surprised as we were at the accuracy of the thing. I think we shot almost that entire tube of BB shot that day. The sun was low in the trees when I returned home.

Now I had a real dilemma. The "toy" gun wasn't a toy any longer. It was real. And it was powerful, I had seen that while shooting. Of course it was quiet, too. Not the loud rifle we imagined when we were just pretending. The recoil was pretty tame as well. If I was crafty about it, I could have probably pretended that the gun didn't work and no one would have been the wiser. I knew I would be safe with it—not getting in the BB gun wars that my mother feared so much. But she had only let me keep the thing because she thought it didn't work.

As much as she was opposed to guns, I was lucky just to have it. She didn't approve of guns in any way. So the future of my gun was up to me. I could lie and keep it or tell the truth and lose the best thing I ever had. At the tender age of seven, a fellow really doesn't know how many more good things there will be, so the tendency is to hang onto whatever you have as long as possible.

I even thought about asking Mr. Cathcart to take the parts out and make it into a toy again, but after that day's shooting I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I loved the way it shot so hard and straight that rendering it inoperable once again would have been like putting a pet to sleep.

I went to bed early that evening, worrying about my problem. I felt like a liar just having a working gun in my room when I knew so well how my mother felt about them. But I also wanted to keep it, because I had grown so attached to it. I tossed and turned all night long, wrestling with my problem.

The next morning was Sunday, and we went to church as always. In Sunday school, they taught us about how Solomon was so wise that he devised a clever way of determining whose baby was the child claimed by two women. The true mother was willing to give up the baby before seeing it cut in half, which was Solomon's way of bringing out her true love. He probably wouldn't have cut up that baby, although you never could tell about those Old Testament people. They were always cutting off thumbs and stuff like that, so maybe the mother was right to be afraid.


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