Friday, August 25, 2006

Straight shooter – part 6

Straight shooter - part 1
Straight shooter - part 2
Straight shooter - part 3
Straight shooter - part 4
Straight shooter - part 5

by Tom Gaylord

The gun was so beautiful I couldn't believe I was getting it. It was long and sleek and looked almost exactly like a pump shotgun my dad owned. Instead of being nickel-plated like most BB guns in those days, it was beautifully blued. It fit me perfectly, although I will admit that the cocking really put a strain on my arm.

Back at home, I shot that gun during all my free time, until I knew where it was shooting without thinking about it. I used the sights, but they seemed to line up for me without much trying. My friends were all envious of my new gun, and I let them all shoot it, too, as they had actually helped me get it. In time, my arm must have gotten stronger because I can't remember that the cocking was that much of a chore for very long.

Within a week of bringing it home, I killed my first rat behind the chicken coop. It was almost too easy, because they weren't afraid of me or anything. My mom taught me how to pick them up with a stick and put them into a burlap feed sack, which had to be buried so the others couldn't get at it. Rats eat their dead, and I sure didn't want to be feeding the colony.

In all, I killed more than 50 of the disgusting things before they seemed to be gone. From time to time after that, if we saw signs of a new one mom would immediately deputize me until it was gone.

I was so happy to have my mom's blessings for that gun that the idea of causing trouble with it never entered my mind. Other boys often got in trouble with their guns, but I treated mine as a special tool I was privileged to own and use. I kept it oiled and clean and never once did it stay outside overnight, the way some guns did. As a result, I still have that BB gun today.

I once asked my mom about that time after I grew up and she said something that surprised me. She said, "Your dad and I always wanted to give you a BB gun, but you didn't seem responsible enough for one. Your dad took you down to the quarry to teach you how to shoot, but he said you were too interested in spraying bullets all over the place to hit anything. Then, he got the idea that if you had to work for your gun, you might pay attention to what he was trying to teach you, so he used that little fib about me to get you to think about what you were doing. It worked, too."

It sure did!


Post a Comment

<< Home