Last week I shared some of my firearm thoughts as well as experiences. This week I would like to share some of my mother’s thoughts and experiences with guns.
Mama was raised a city girl but always dreamed of living in a rural setting. So, when she met my dad, she thought she had won the lottery. She just forgot to do her homework and did not realize all that came with being married to a farmer.
We only lived a few miles outside of the little village of Herscher, but with all the farmland in the area it seemed so much further.
While I was still a child my family had a chicken coup with anywhere from one hundred to two hundred egg laying hens in it. Our cattle ranged from thirty to forty head of milking cows. And for a short period of time, we even had a few hogs.
But as time went on and the family grew to fourteen of us little rug rats, Dad got the bright idea to purchase more cows as well as chickens to keep his hoodlums busy. So, he built a chicken coup to hold over seven thousand laying hens.
With the increase in farm animals came the need for more protection and the increase of firearms. I honestly do not believe there is a word powerful enough to express my mother’s dislike of guns.
Mama could accept the necessity for protection on the farm and the need to have those guns around, but she despised having them in the house or anywhere my younger siblings had access to them. And understandably so. She was the mother hen protecting her baby chicks from danger.
Now keep in mind, my father did not allow the girls to touch or learn how to shoot a gun. Let alone check to see if one was loaded. He did not see the need for us to ever go near a gun since he had six sons and hired hands around to handle any threatening situations.
Dad did well to teach my brothers how to handle a gun, but somehow, he neglected to educate them on gun safety. Which meant Mama would have to school them on the seriousness of leaving a gun loaded and laying around the house.
The back door to our old farmhouse entered into what we called our porch. That is where our washer and dryer stood along with hooks for coats and an area to kick off those dirty, smelly, barnyard boots.
Now keep in mind, guns were not to be brought into the house, especially while loaded. But boys will be boys. And they could get distracted in a heartbeat and would leave a gun laying on the porch floor or on top of the wash machine. Something that drove my mother crazy.
She would constantly yell at my brothers to get their guns out of the house. But soon exhausted her efforts and began standing those guns up in the corner of the porch, at which time she would pull the trigger to make certain it was not loaded.
Let’s not forget that the women in our family were not allowed to handle guns. We were never even taught how to load or unload a gun. Which eventually lead to that one time when Ma stood one of those shotguns up in the corner of the porch and casually tripped the trigger as she had done hundreds of times before, and boom! It was loaded.
Fortunately, no one got hurt. But it did scare the bejabbers out of my mother and of course everyone else inside and outside of that house.
That was the first day I had ever heard Mama swear.
My dad and brothers came running from the tool shed only to find a new sky light adorning our back porch.
I have never seen my mother get so angry. I don’t think she spoke a word to my dad for weeks. It did not help that she had just put a birthday cake which she had baked from scratch out on the clothes dryer to cool only to end up riddled with splinters of wood and insulation.
After that incident, anytime a gun was left in Mama’s view, it disappeared. Sometimes she would hide it in the attic other times in the basement or a closet.
Only recently did Ma tell me about the time she was so angry about finding one of those guns laying around that she laid it out on the driveway hoping someone would drive over it. But go figure, she said, “One of our ‘male’ egg customers brought it into the house. As if it was some kind of precious commodity.”
She could not win.
Until next time, God Bless,
Mary Kruger Latta is a mother of nine children and a grandmother of 12. She can be reached at Overallmom53@hotmail.com.