The broken gun was only a pellet gun, but it was our gun and the Old Man Stork who broke our gun became an enemy more un-liked than he was even prior before – at least by us. We played in Perch Bay nearly every day in the summer, or at least that summer. The one where Buckliss shot the raven. Or was it a crow? Anyhow, by played there, I mean we fished, swam, almost got stuck in quick sand, caught frogs, chased ravens from robins nests and generally felt free and perhaps the luckiest boys on Earth.
Old Man Stork watched us meanly. He thought no good could come from us and I can readily suppose it was the darkness in his own heart from which he watched us. His was the third up from the road winding around the bay and the lot was broad and favored a view east up the lake. The sunset view rounding further around perhaps was more desired real estate, but morning view bay windows have their own pleasant aspect.
The morning view window made for an easy spy point upon the boys splashing around in the water, cat-tails and mud – which was us. One day we learned that grackles eat eggs in robins’ nests and then take over the nest as their own. True or not, we decided to hunt grackles. We winged one in the wing after much effort and slogging around in muck through cattails.
Old Man Stork ran racing down the hill towards us. He called us over and asked did we get that bird? We proudly in unison said, “we got that nasty grackle!” He asked to see our pellet gun and being as we only had the one amongst us, Buckliss brought it to him unsure. Old Man Stork said, “nice gun, it isn’t a toy” then he slammed it against the ground and broke off the handle. The story later was he broke the metal even over his knee, but that actually isn’t even possible.
Buckliss was in tears and ran home. I picked up the pieces as Old Man Stork ambled back to his coffee and bay window. The others scattered, someone said, “well, we should at least bury the bird.” I don’t recall who said that, but I guess probably Twinky did. He is like that, but I’m sure it wasn’t too difficult in the muck. All that he had to do really was take a stick and poke the thing downward.
I got to Buckliss’s where he was explaining to his dad what happened to the pellet gun while his dad was dialing up Old Man Stork on the phone. We all thought they were going to have a fist fight, but I think the moms’ prevailed against that, however, if any one was more proud of that pellet gun than Buckliss, it was Buckliss’s dad. He ended up hiring a lawyer and suing.
The trial was reported in the newspaper and the judge ruled Old Man Stork had to pay for a new gun or get the old one repaired. I’m not sure if Old Man Stork ever actually paid for the new gun, I heard later his wife did from her cookie jar money. The lawyers cost them both far more than the cost of the gun, but that’s some times how things work when people resolve things through a court trial.