Shotguns and Soda. Delayed candor

To my regret when I deceived I deceived on purpose. But I didn’t usually scheme much in advance. Not always. Things would simply happen and it was then I schemed. And deceived. Typically to avoid consequences over some foolishness.

Richard Nixon’s after-the-fact scheming made the term Cover-up famous. But I appreciated the concept well before Watergate days. My dad’s sun-visor question provoked for me a scheming diversion on the spot – Maybe a bale dropped. . .  A shotgun blast gave rise to a cover-up that required less scheming.

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16 Gauge Buckshot (2)


Let’s go chase down a rabbit.

 Our mother cooked the best fried rabbit dinner; her green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy perfected the meal.

Tim gave the summons. Bearing the shotgun with care, he led the way. Passing through knee-level pastureland, he and I scanned the bermuda before us. Soon a Cotton Tail leapt from the grass. Taking speedy hops before Tim could aim and fire she bounded into a sanctuary – a pile of discarded lumber and tree branches.  We devised a plan. I slipped around to the other side of the tall heap of rubbish to flush out our prey.  I was out of Tim’s view. Our excitement over a great rabbit dinner may have clouded our judgment.

Balancing on my better foot I attacked a tree branch with the other and shouted, Out of here Rabbit. Out!  The rabbit darted into Tim’s view.

I heard the gun-blast, felt a burning pain above my left knee and heard my own scream, all in one alarming moment. I seized the injured leg with both hands and went to my knees. The pain lessened and when no blood appeared my panic eased.

My poor brother came into view, bounding over a log. His face was colorless. Tim gawked at my hands, still in their tourniquet pose.  I unfastened my blue jeans and inspected the area above my knee.

Two bluish-red welts.

A few buckshot from the blast had ricocheted – only two of them finding me. They resembled BBs and lacked the speed to break the skin.

The rabbit escaped.

Tim and I suspended our hunting for a later date – taking care to consider  the matter of gun safety. And we schemed. That afternoon, in a simple collusion of silence. Nothing concerning this particular hunt – nothing – would be shared with anyone. No one.

After a few years we volunteered the account to dad. Meanwhile we killed, dressed and – trusting to our mother’s kitchen graces – ate our share of rabbit and squirrel.

Confessing is best made earlier than later. That said, confessing is good. Period.

When I was fifteen I stole and drank an orange soda from another school’s canteen. Three or four of us guys slipped into the quiet room off a deserted hallway. Un-chilled soft drinks sat in crates stacked from the floor. We each opened a bottle and downed its lukewarm contents. Yuk.

No one spotted us.

The infraction haunted me. After several days of misery I found a pen and paper.

Orange Pop. Nesbitt's

I am writing to apologize for taking an orange soda without paying from your school’s canteen recently. I am sorry. Enclosed is payment for the drink.

The stamped envelope bearing no return address left with our postman that morning carrying a ten cent coin and my unsigned note. Sodas cost a dime in 1962, and I lacked the courage to identify myself.

Confessing is best done when the offender has a name. That said, confessing remains good.

My conscience was quieted and my dishonesty limp was lessened. I felt I walked a little straighter on the inside. It was a good feeling.

Still, character-growth school for me remained in session. I had a good way to go. 


Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.                                                                                                                        – the Bible.  Book of James, Chapter 5

©2015 Jerry Lout