The Gallery Gun

I asked my Uncle Porter Inman one day about a small round scare on the back of his neck. He said that’s where I got shot. All of my uncles were great at teasing you except one; Uncle Eldon who was in WW 2. So I thought yeah sure you did… I knew he wasn’t in the war and I had never heard about it so I let it pass. After I had grown and married I was told this story by my father Louis Inman. The farm where they grew up was rough country and it was populated by even tougher people. One day late in the afternoon my Grandpa Jim told Port or P.I. as he was called to go get the cows out of the pasture across the road. there was a patch of woods to go through on the way to the field so he grabbed a 22 rifle from behind the door just in case he saw a squirrel. It was a Remington 22 pump with a hexagon shape barrel; millions were made and you could get one from the Sears Catalog for about $10.00 in those days. They had a hammer with a pump action that ejected the spent shell and replaced it with a live round in one motion holding 10 shots or so and they were used at almost every carnival and fair in their shooting galleries; thus the nick name of Gallery Gun. As he crossed the road he met a neighbor boy and the two of them went through the woods together. Soon they spotted a squirrel and PI took careful aim, he took his shot and the squirrel fell a foot or two and stuck in the tree. The neighbor boy went up in the tree to knock it out but he couldn’t reach it so PI handed him the rifle and he took a couple of swipes at it holding on to the stock. Something happened and the gun went off hitting PI in the mouth knocking out his front teeth passing through his tongue and out the back of his neck missing the brain stem by a fraction of an inch. The concussion knocked him out cold and he lay flat on the ground. The boy thought he had killed him from all the blood and the fact that he wasn’t moving. He took off running finally ending up at his house and acting strange. About sundown he ran to his Dad and told him what had happened. The father ran for the Inman place told granpa Jim and they and some others took through the woods to where he was last seen. But he wasn’t there just a lot of blood and it was getting dark and they knew they were running out of time everyone was looking for him and calling out his name but of coarse he couldn’t answer. His tongue was swollen twice its size and cutting of his breathing and no doubt swallowing a lot of blood. Granddad ran for the old Model T Ford driving around the road with the lights on looking in the ditches and the fence rows. He found him at the edge of the road passed out; threw him in the car and took off for Springfield Mo. hospital. The doctors said he would make it if he didn’t die of thrust before the swelling went down. This was about 1924 and your chances in the hospital were not as good as they are now… 1982 a few months before he died I showed him a Gallery Gun I had rebuilt. He looked at it for a while and said yep that’s exactly like the gun I got shot with… and that was that… he really didn’t want to talk about it, even after all those years gone by…..