Thursday, August 17, 2006

By the book – part 7

By the book - part 1
By the book - part 2
By the book - part 3
By the book - part 4
By the book - part 5
By the book - part 6

by Tom Gaylord

I finished school in Oregon, thousands of miles from my Indiana beginnings, and millions of miles from my childhood. Never again was I able to shoot with the freedom I had known back then for such a short time, so when I moved out of the house, I immediately began buying firearms of all kinds. I immersed myself in shooting for about ten years, trying to make up for what I felt I had missed as a child. But it was all to no avail. Firearms are so different from the gentle airguns that they really don't serve as substitutes. I suppose they did get under my mother's skin, which was a pretty good side benefit, but the satisfaction I was seeking was not there. So eventually, I abandoned the shooting sports altogether and took up other hobbies.

Then one day in 1972, a neighbor of mine showed me a pellet rifle he had recently bought from some place back east. It was as heavy as a firearm but as silent as I remember my Daisy being. And the darned thing shot accurately, too. I asked him where he bought it and before the next month was out, I had one just like it.

Since then, I have rediscovered the world of airguns. I now have several old Daisys and other makes of BB guns. They don't shoot quite as well as I remembered, but then, neither do I anymore. I keep them for sentimental reasons.

But I have many accurate and powerful pellet rifles. Most are from Germany, but a few were made in England, and I even have a couple from the good old US of A. These I shoot constantly. They don't replace my lost childhood, but they do make my waning years more enjoyable.

My mother passed away in 1968. We never reconciled our differences, but I do understand her better now that I’m older. She was a product of her upbringing, and in many ways she was very afraid of the world she lived in. Her eccentricities were a defense against many fears.

I never found out what became of Carmen, but I like to think she is married with children (and now grandchildren) of her own and that she is the kind of mother I wish I had. I never married, so this branch of our family ends with me. If Carmen can build a better life for her family than the one I had, then maybe there is hope for the world.


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