Friday, July 21, 2006

Never let her down – part 5

Never let her down part 1
Never let her down part 2
Never let her down part 3
Never let her down part 4

by Tom Gaylord

Well, I figured this was my one chance to convert her to my thinking. I knew she was afraid of guns, so I told her everything there was to shooting the gun before she picked it up. Then, I had her watch me do it one time. When it was her turn, I watched her like a hawk.

Once, she turned around with the gun cocked and loaded, and I grabbed the barrel and pointed it towards the targets, the way my dad and Mr. Cathcart had taught me. They said to never point the barrel at something I didn't want to shoot, so that was what I told my mom. Me, a seven year-old kid was telling his own mother how to behave. But I knew I had to make her follow the rules, because if we had an accident I would probably never be allowed to shoot that gun again.

We shot for a long time that day, and when we were done, she handed the gun back to me and told me to get ready for supper. I reminded her that she needed to remove the trigger parts, but she said it was okay. I could keep them in from now on. I was flabbergasted!

At supper, she told me a story about when she was a little girl. It seems she had been tormented by a neighbor boy who shot at her with his BB gun. One time, he hit her cat, who had to be taken to the vet to have the shot removed. Ever since that time, she was dead set against guns of any kind, and especially BB guns. But she said I had shown her that not everybody had to act like that boy.

She was proud of the way I told her the truth about the gun working again, but even prouder that I acted responsibly when we were shooting together that afternoon. She said she now knew she could trust me to act responsibly with my gun, so from then on it was mine to shoot.

My mother never really got over her hatred of guns. I would love to report that she became an avid shooter and so on, but it didn't happen. But she did trust me to act in a responsible manner, which kept me even more vigilant than I would normally have been. Even when I got to be an old man, I still thought about her whenever I picked up a gun of any kind. I am happy to report that I never let her down.

Franklin Township, New Jersey 1948


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