I’ve had my late PaPaw’s historic Winchester Model 10 shotgun since I was in my 20’s. Mama observed I was the only Pulling descendant at the time who hunted, so she trusted the heirloom to my care. The story behind the gun is worth noting, if in fact it’s the gun of historical record. It’s certainly old enough to be. Here’s the gist of the story, as I recall my father relating it.

I recently passed PaPaw's gun down to my son.  We tested it in the field a few weeks ago.  May that gun serve to remind the next generation!

I recently passed PaPaw’s gun down to my son. We tested it in the field a few weeks ago. May that gun serve to remind the next generation!

In the early years of my grandfather’s and grandmother’s marriage, around 1910, MaMaw (my grandmother) converted from her native Catholicism (she was Spanish) to evangelical Christianity. She was excited with her newfound expression of faith to the point that her family was greatly upset by her decision. In fact, they were certain she had lost her mind! So her brothers showed up at hers and my grandfather’s front door to take Aurelia (what a beautiful Spanish name!) away to the insane asylym. But my grandfather, protector of his beloved, met his determined in-laws on the front steps with a shotgun to defend his wife and her faith, to turn them away from their intent.

Evidently, his defense worked, for the rest of MaMaw’s story shows a life-long commitment to that faith she had committed to as an 18 year old newly-wed. My own legacy of faith is traced to that conviction, once courageously tested at the end of a 30 inch shotgun barrel.

Is that the same gun that Mama handed to me and I just handed down to my son? It’s old enough to be. It well could be the same gun. But even if it were another gun, I get the point. My grandfather, a principled man, took a courageous stand for his wife!

I recently passed PaPaw’s gun down to my son. We tested it in the field a few weeks ago, and it’s an elegant relic that still shoots true. May that antique serve to remind the next generation never to take faith lightly.

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