Wednesday

I settled the shotgun issue for all time

The father we both loved died nearly 22 years ago. And the old man owned an Eastern Arms shotgun that he purchased around 1934 for the princely sum of $10.00. It was a single-shot break-open 12 gauge with a 34 inch barrel. The front site bead was missing. The firing pin had to be pushed back in with your finger. The stock showed signs of burns from a campfire it sustained in the late 1930’s. And usually it came apart into two separate pieces when you broke it open. Oh and the fore-stock would fall off at the drop of a hat.

For these reasons, and out of respect for the memory of Dad, neither my brother nor I had fired it since his death. But that shotgun was his prized possession! Being of poor backwoods stock, that gun had spent long years putting meat on his family’s table. Daddy’s death elevated that old shotgun almost to the status of a holy relic in mine and my brother’s eyes.

When Daddy died, there was no argument between us over which one got his shotgun. Neither one of us needed it, but both of us coveted it. So thus began a twenty year odyssey of that shotgun moving back and forth from my house to my brother’s house - and back again. Each time I would visit him, I would pick up the shotgun as I made my way to door, and say something along the lines of “Well THIS is going home where it belongs!” No argument. And then the process would be reversed when Brother visited me. He’d come for a visit and leave with the shotgun; a smart-assed retort on his lips as he walked out the door. Again…no argument.

This ritual continued for upwards of fifteen years. But about five years ago my brother changed the rules of the game. As I got ready to leave his house to drive home one day, he handed me the shotgun and said “Son…this will end up in your hands one day soon anyway. I’d rather know that you had it, than take a chance on it getting away from us after I’ve gone.”

So for the last five years or so it has sat unmoved in my gun vault.

When my brother died last week, it occurred to me that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that old shotgun. I called my sons from my brother’s house and asked that they bring the shotgun with them when they came for the funeral. And then I had a few quiet words with the funeral director off to one side. “This isn’t for presentation sake” I told him as I gave him the shotgun thru a side door. After all the family and friends had left the viewing room, and before they secured the casket, I had them put Daddy’s old shotgun inside. It was no one’s business there except for me and my brother.

I specified that the casket would not be opened at graveside, and so I confirmed with the funeral director that he’d done as I asked. With a big ole grin he said “Don’t you worry…I got it crooked in his arm just like he was heading out for the swamp.”

It made me feel good to think that Tuffy was going through the Pearly Gates with a shotgun in one hand, and a rebel flag in the other! I hope he enjoys hunting with Daddy over there on the other shore.

9 comments:

omar said...

Thank you for sharing this.

My condolences for your Brother.

Diogenes said...

Good call. My hats off to you for this one.

Bitmap said...

Excellent. I can't think of a better place for it.

idahobob said...

Good un!

Bob
III

Anonymous said...

What a fitting resting place for shotgun with such history. I can think of no better way to be honored.
JRP

ASM826 said...

That settled it, and he can't give you any argument. You done good.

Concerned American said...

Exactly -- you done good. Blessings to you and your family.

Did it MY way said...

God Bless you, and your brother. A fine tribute. Well done.

William E Miller said...

Your dad is extra proud of you for this.

Good call.

R.I.P. Tuffy.