Friday, February 10, 2017

The Sharps

30 Day Writing Challenge:

Write about a lesson you learned from a mistake you made.

I suppose every marriage has “a Sharps” or sore spot in it at one time or another. The Sharps in our marriage was caused by a rifle, namely a Shiloh Sharp Rifle.

Grace, Abe, Calvin, me, Ty, Ande, Cali, Ray
Calvin has made all of the guns in this picture

For thirty years Calvin has made beautiful guns. He takes a chunk of wood and carves and sands it until it is a handsome gun stock. He buys a barrel, but molds the other pieces by hand, even carving the tiny springs in the trigger. Making a gun takes him well over two hundred and fifty hours. Calvin is very talented with his hands and eyes and he loves making guns, and even though I often get his guns confused with each other, I really admire and appreciate his abilities. He has made several guns so why one gun caused such grief I’m still not sure, but it did.

The Sharps was a special order gun, one that Calvin wouldn’t be making, and he had wanted it for a very long time. He ordered a Shiloh Sharp rifle knowing there was a several year waiting period, except in this instance it was not several years, but only a few months. Suddenly the company called and said the gun was ready to ship and they were waiting for the final payment. Calvin didn’t have enough money saved for it and that is when I learned about The Sharps. We had to dip into some saved funds to pay for the gun and I’d tagged them for something else. Calvin still swears he told me when he ordered the gun; I swear he thought he had several years to prepare me so he hadn’t mentioned it yet. Regardless of who swears most accurately, the gun arrived.

The Sharps was a source of contention. I felt betrayed. I felt second rate. I felt a thousand things that I wanted to feel whenever I wanted to feel them because of The Sharps. Calvin called the gun an investment, but I didn't see it that way.  I saw it as his toy that went on every father-son outing, scout over-nighter, and hunting trip. The gun had a little flip-up site that really was cool and every man loved to shoot it.  After a few years, I warmed up to it a bit (it’s hard not to like something that everybody else likes), but then I would remember The Sharps stood for perfidy and I'd get mad all over again.

Several years went by and then we needed money for a trip. Out came The Sharps and Calvin sold it as quickly as he'd bought it.  He said it was an investment.

Surprisingly, I mourned its loss.

Calvin was right, it had become an investment.  Not only was it a nest egg of memories for him and the boys, but it had become a place to stash my grievances. It was proof for whatever I wanted it to prove.

Calvin has been talking about ordering another Shiloh Sharp rifle.  I learned a lesson from the last Sharp's: a stash of grievances never pays.

I'm even considering offering to help him raise the money for the new rifle just to prove I learned my lesson.

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