Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Colt

The Colt

I am unsure how the Colt Frontier Scout became part of our family, but I suspect either my Great Gramp Doubler purchased it or his brother Dan did. They ran the family farm in Independence, Ohio from the early 1900s through the 1970s, although the farm itself dated back to before 1850.

The Colt is notable to me for several reasons. When Aunt Elaine, Great Uncle Dan's wife, got up in years, she kept the Colt on her lap as she rolled around her old farmhouse in her wheelchair, often shooting at imaginary woodchucks, and possibly a couple of real ones. Whether or not she ever took one out is anybody's guess, but the walls of the kitchen were full of bullet holes. By some miracle she never shot any of us.

When the Doubler farm came to its final demise, my Gram O'Brien flew in from St. Louis and stayed with us in Lakewood for a few weeks getting affairs in order. During that time, my dad and his mom fought bitterly over the Colt and who would retain ownership.

When she left for the trip home, however, she left the gun behind and Dad stowed it away. He may have taken it to events now and then. Guns were not a focal point in our house, but the Colt meant something to him. I do not believe he ever owned another handgun, just old school hunting long guns.

My Great Great Gram Vaughn in front of the farmhouse her daughter in law
would later shoot up on account of imaginary woodchucks

Fast forward a half dozen years or so. I was 15 or 16. It was a Friday night and I went to a party. Later in the evening, a guy offered to walk me home. He was good looking, popular and a couple years older. I was starry-eyed and accepted his offer. When we got to my house, we hung out in the upstairs den. The predictable teenage makeout session ensued, but went south very quickly.

He wanted me to do things I didn't want to do, physically pushing me. I refused, adamantly, and pulled away. I told him he had to leave and headed down the stairs. Surely he would comply with my parents in the next room. He did and left in a huff. I went to bed.

I woke about two or three in the morning only to find the persistent Romeo had returned and was sitting on my bed. He commenced trying to touch me as I blinked awake, which didn't take long. I scrambled from my bed and told him to leave or I'd wake my parents, then I hurried by Mom and Dad's closed bedroom door and down the stairs. Romeo followed.

I wasn't afraid. I was angry. After all, I knew this kid, but had never realized what a creep he was. I honestly felt no need to scream or wake my parents.

He called me some names and then took a beer can he had obviously brought with him and threw it at me before storming out.

The staircase was right by the front door. On one of the risers sat some stuff completely out of place: a bottle of Crown Royal, some cassette tapes and (inexplicably) a couple of small cheap art prints. Had he cased the house before coming to my room? Something was really off. I went to wake Mom and Dad.

"Dad! Dad! Wake up! Someone broke into the house!"

Mom stirred. Dad told me everything was fine and to go back to bed.

"No, Dad, you have to get up!"

At this point of the tale, it is important to note that the beer of choice at Bill O'Brien's house was Stroh's, always.

Hence, when my half-asleep father grumbled down the stairs and spied an upended can of Genny Cream Ale on the floor of the foyer, it got his attention.

"The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up," he would later recall.

The house was checked. Frazzled nerves persisted, particularly when my mother spied Romeo peeking through a front window, watching our movements. He bolted when he realized Mom saw him.

Dad called the cops, who called back about ten minutes later.

"We got him. What do you want us to do with him?"

"Scare the livin' shit out of him and take him home," said Dad.

And so it was.

After that night, Dad permanently located the Colt, now loaded--a complete departure from his previous habits--on his nightstand.

So there's a gun story. You want another gun story? Here.

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lucyb35 said...

Erin, a most excellent story! It all came to life in my head...saw those stairs, saw the foyer, heard your dad! And you, my dear, handled it like a boss!! And the wonderful, compassionate way your dad told the cops what to do with the creep...just right! The background about the farm and those who inhabited it, was it's own story, and one I am happy to have heard. Another piece in the O'Brien puzzle! So much little time!

DogsDontPurr said...

THIS is why I love you.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks, girls. I love this story this story too and it was high time to tell it.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, completely, eternally, irrevocably and classically handled by the Pop...Pop perfection...