#Guns by rem hadley
I grew up around guns; they hung openly on the wall (not locked or encased) They were removed and returned many times in a week, month, the year as I recall. Guns were part of our life, used for hunting, target shooting, and sometimes they served as comfort in our house in the country, far from neighbors where most times there was no means of help IF danger presented. We were taught respect for the risk and the use of pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Not one of 11 children viewed them as dangerous any more than a knife or fork when used properly.
Dad worked late nights; so he did not get home until nearly midnight from his job at Pontiac Motors. So the fact is; guns were also reassurance in the house as were the local police. If anything alarmed my mom (or threatened her family) she was quick to call them up and asked that they check out the problem. But there were no cell phones and we had a party line until the late nineties I think, so expedient help was not always available in rural areas. Some situations escalate quickly in the country. With only 2 local cops at the time who generally traveled together; well the problems sometimes needed to be handled and that is exactly what happened one night.
I was shaken awake by my mother one night. She said, “get up there is a man at the door that wouldn’t leave”. She told me to get a gun. Needless to say; I was at full awake and ran behind her to the wall rack. I chose a shotgun and reached into the drawer for shotgun shells. I grabbed as many as I could with my free hand and I crouched by the door near a window so I might see out to what (who) had frightened my mom. I couldn’t hear the man’s part of the conversation clearly, but it was not raining, or did I hear comments about car trouble or problems, just that he was emphatic and persistently pleading his case. Also, I did not recognize him (and in a small town and in a rural area that was unusual) He was tall and big, especially when compared to my mom who barely cleared 60 inches.
The part of the conversation I could hear was my mom talking to the man even with the main door closed and I assumed locked. I was accustomed to hearing her tones and knowing what they meant. Her manner did not match her tone. Though her voice was definitely firm and calm the message of her body was uncharacteristically poised. Her voice said “NO” but she showed fear. I pulled the rifle closer and noted its position more conducive to use. Mom told the man to go away or risk waking up the entire family, I knew for sure now that my dad was still not home. And she added again, “NO” to what I thought was asking to come inside. My sense of the time that elapsed was in hours but still, all I could do is wait poised for more information and maybe some “help”.
It had started to feel like a stalemate with no one changing their position; both he and my mom were as close as three feet, but separated by the slab of our wooden door. I watched and listened alerted but not moving. Thinking about what I had in time to react. And knowing there was no real safety between the man and my mom except the lock and the door.
From the window, I could also see car lights off in the distance maybe a half or three-quarters of a mile away is noticeable in the country, and it was closing in from the west. I had no idea what time it was so I whispered abt the car lights thinking somehow it was an opportunity for help. Mom appeared to relax and there was silence for some time; her head tilted and eyes squinted. The car lights dropped from view as it came down the hill and into the valley before it would either turn north on Lake George Road or continue on the road straight towards our house. The silence stopped; the man suddenly turned from the door and laughed and as the lights crested the hill I felt the relief that I saw in my mom. Those movements away from the door occurred exactly the same time my mother’s posture change; though it was not related to the man, because she did not see what he did. The change gave me insight that she also sensed help. Her tone was no longer as firm or as calm and when she looked at me I saw she was relieved and almost in that same second I saw the flash of light illuminate the dark house from the car turned into our driveway. Mom remained quiet…listening, and the man still stood on the front porch.
The next sound was the door of the car slamming shut and then men’s voices. Now my shoulders relaxed too, as I heard my dad’s laugh. But that same sound actually seemed to confuse mom. I had no idea what was going on but clearly, the need for a gun (still not loaded) had changed so I slipped it back into the wall case and the ammo back into the drawer. Mom nodded reassurance and I went back to bed. Though there was some loud discussion from my parents later just before I fell back to sleep, it wasn’t until the next day I heard…”the rest of the story.”