Hubby has always said that they were probably poor, but when you lived on a farm you didn’t know you were poor because you always had plenty to eat. But, apparently there wasn’t much money for toys, like toy guns. Because he said the only guns he remembers him and his brothers having were ones that his dad carved for them out of wood — or, they would use anything that even remotely resembled a gun. Here he is holding a toy hatchet — he says they each had one and those were one of their favorite gun substitutes.
This brings me to a story that Hubby has “confessed” to from his childhood:
The way the story goes is that Jerry, the older boy who lived across the road got a new toy. And, as is human nature, he wondered who he could show his new toy to who would be impressed. Ah, there were two of the little kids across the road out playing their favorite game of cowboys and indians. He would go over and show it to them! He knew they would like it … because it was a cap gun!
Boy, did he guess right! Hubby and Denny both ooohed and ahhhed over the shiney gun that actually shot caps! Unfortunately, it hadn’t occurred to Jerry what would happen next … they both wanted to shoot it! He really didn’t want to share his caps.
But they persisted, so he reluctantly told Denny he could shoot it. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Denny was excited!
Hubby was thinking “Oh, boy! That’s great! He’s going to let us shoot it! I’ll be next!” But then Jerry told Hubby that he wasn’t going to let him shoot it. Because Jerry had “rules” about how they could try out his gun, and he was afraid Hubby wouldn’t follow his “rules”. Well, really there was just one rule … they could only shoot it once.
So, Jerry handed the cap gun to Denny and Denny shot it as instructed … just once. And then he handed it back to Jerry.
Hubby then asked again if he couldn’t “Pleeeeease” shot the gun too. Nope. Jerry was just sure that Hubby would shoot it more than once.
Noooo. Absolutely not. Hubby would just shoot it once, just like Denny did.
So, reluctantly, Jerry handed the gun to Hubby.
Ohhh, it looked and felt just like what he pictured a real gun would, with a trigger and cylinder that moved and everything! And when Denny had shot it, it had made a loud “crack” and you could even smell the gunpowder! It was wonderful! And now was Hubby’s turn to experience all that first hand. He pointed it out across the yard and shot it just once. “Crack!” But then something terrible happened …suddenly his resolve to shoot it just once went out the window and all he could think about was how much fun it was to shoot a real cap gun. So in an instant, instead of handing it back to Jerry, “crackcrackcrackcrack!!!” In quick succession, Hubby shot the other four caps left in the gun!
Then Hubby handed the gun back to Jerry and sheepishly told Jerry he was sorry. But, it was too late for apologies. Jerry had just known Hubby wouldn’t be able to resist shooting the gun more than once! He was mad and started crying. He took his gun and marched back across the road swearing that he was never going to play with Hubby again!
Of course, they did play together again, and Hubby doesn’t remember the subject ever coming up again. But he also doesn’t remember EVER getting another chance to shoot Jerry’s beautiful, shiney cap gun.
This story was at the beginning of Hubby’s life-long love of guns. Being a farm boy, he had lots of opportunities to shoot as he got older. And (to show you how times have changed) in high school he belonged to the Rifle Club and no one thought anything about it when the boys in that club carried their rifles to school on the bus!
After Hubby’s parents passed away this table is one of the keepsakes we bought from the estate because of Hubby’s fond memories of it being the table that held their big radio that they all sat around and listened to in the evening, in the before-TV days. He also said that he remembered sitting on the floor in front of the radio listening to shows like The Lone Ranger and looking at the table and thinking what a good pretend gun one of those legs would make! So we have had the table at least 30 years now and I still think of it as the “gun leg table”.
Hubby has done some hunting, but he mainly enjoys target shooting. And, he has a talent for it, but he also shoots alot and the saying “practice makes perfect” is true. So he is a verrrry good shot. But he is something of a rarity in that he is a collector and a shooter. Many collectors don’t shoot most, if any, of the guns they collect. In comparison, I don’t think Hubby has ever owned a gun that he didn’t shoot. Some of his favorite ones have been very old guns that he has restored (he is very good at the mechanics of guns) and then enjoyed shooting.
I couldn’t even guess how many guns Hubby has owned, but I know it’s in the hundreds. It isn’t as expensive a hobby as you might think, because he has built up his collection gradually and mostly trades a gun or two that he already has for another one that has caught his eye.
I have occasionally been with Hubby when he walks into a gun store where they know him, and their eyes always light up! Although most of the time he is trading guns, so while they do make a profit it isn’t like selling a new gun. But one time the owner of his favorite gun store told me that he was always glad to see me walk in with Hubby because that might mean that we were actually going to buy a gun, not just trade! No, wonder they’re always so nice to me. They know I have the checkbook!
So, shooting and gun collecting have been Hubby’s one life-long hobby. And when I think back to that story about Jerry’s cap gun and then think about the sometimes very expensive guns that Hubby owns now, the saying that comes to mind is, “The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys!”