Eight years ago, I met the pastor of my brother’s church in Northern Wisconsin. Pastor Phil and his wife, Kathy, had answered the call when the church had gone through some hard times. His career had started in Chicago where his parents were called to the ministry. His father had also been a Marine.
The streets that he grew up on in Chicago had an international flavor. There were Greeks, Polish, and Germans, and they generally got along. His family didn’t have any guns, and his lone experience with firearms was an informal couple of shots with a .22 at twilight in, of all places, Maryland. The relative who supplied the rifle was also a Marine.
My mother lived on the land that my parents had purchased before I was born, a couple of miles from Pastor Phil’s Church. She required someone to be with her 24/7, and I was one of those who stayed with her, in her home, cooked, helped her in and out of bed, and did all the necessary things that children do for elderly parents.People who have been in this position will tell you that any assistance can make a big difference.
Pastor Phil, and his wife Kathy went far beyond what could be expected. They cheered my mother, brought over food, spend considerable time with her and me. There presence was always appreciated, a bright spot in my mother’s life. They have said that she was a bright spot in theirs.They may have spent more time with my mother than I did during those years. They were rich in spirit, but materially, not much better off than, well, church mice.They taught me about Christian charity.
I would take a little time while my mother was sleeping to sharpen my shooting skills. I shot from the deck of her house, with a monitor nearby or in my pocket. A long barrelled .22 with standard velocity ammunition is pretty quiet.
Pastor Phil and Kathy had a garden at their Wisconsin home and the rabbits would raid it. I arranged to give Phil an old Remington 550. It was old enough to not have a serial number. It worked well, and we soon had the factory sights dialed in. I supplied a few hundred rounds of .22 ammunition and at some point, a member of the church donated a brick of .22 to pastor Phil.
Phil and Kathy took to the gun culture as if they were born to it. Phil has taken a fearsome toll on the rabbit and squirrel population. At last count, he had stopped the garden predation of 35 of them.
As their modest income increased, Phil purchased a Ruger American rifle and put a scope on it. They acquired two carry handguns and Wisconsin concealed carry licenses. The class for the carry licenses was given at the church by my brother where twenty-one people attended. Kathy has been as enthusiastic about their entry into the gun culture as Phil has.
I’m delighted to have helped introduce pastor Phil and Kathy to the American gun culture. Northern Wisconsin is a rich center of that heritage, far more so than bloody Chicago, which was considerably more peaceful when Pastor Phil was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.The centers of the gun culture tend to be more peaceful than the urban centers whose political leadership wishes to disarm the rest of us.
Pastor Phil and Kathy are part of that great surge in gun ownership that’s happened during the Obama regime. Neither had owned a gun before…now they both do. It’s far less likely that they will need to use their pistols for defense of self or others, than Phil’s use of the rifle to further defend their vegetables.
Phil was happy to have the address of the Calvary Baptist Church included in this story. It is 13713 W. Thannum Fire Ln, Hayward, Wisconsin, 54843. If you’re in the area, feel free to stop by. Services are from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sundays.Pastor Phil’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.