Last weekend the L.C. Smith Collectors Association celebrated a homecoming in Fulton NY visiting the site where Hunter Arms Company manufactured the legendary L.C. Smith shotguns from the late 19th century until 1950 in Fulton, NY. I wrote the following poem based on our experiences in Fulton over the weekend:
Ode to the Tumbled Bricks of Home
by John Kuhn Bleimaier
Well as for me I’m a hunter, a collector… and a shooter
When it comes to marque, I’m an L.C. Smith rooter.
If you visit my gun room the first thing that you’ll see
In the place of honor is a 20 bore piece, we call her Elsie.
I might as well tell you right from the start
That this lithe, sweet gal has a very special place in my heart;
In covert, in blind, on moor or at sporting clays station
Elsie’s my girl, proud daughter of our American nation.
Now all these years she’s been handsomely promenading on my arm
Elsie’s been advancing a little agenda of her own with her own special charm;
You see, she’s been patiently waiting to introduce me to her very own people
The special folks who live in the shadow of the Fulton, New York church steeple.
Well, at last, wouldn’t you know, we decided to go north, northwest
On this most anticipated and exalted family quest.
To Lake Ontario’s verdant, alluvial plain
So that Elsie might visit her old home once again.
Along the right bank of the broad Oswego at the fall line
There’s a scrub brush knoll up from the bank with a view so fine;
But today you’d be hard pressed to locate the slightest trace
Of a proud brick structure that once surmounted this place.
When I take thought it gives me a bitter cold chill
To think that here once stood that magnificent mill
From whence as a mighty torrent sprang forth
A range of lively shotguns of inestimable worth.
Truly I must acknowledge with a twinge of pain
The verity of the poets words, “You can never go home again.”
From Elsie’s stoic cheek piece I had to wipe away a tear
It’s all gone to rubble, rack and ruin: the greatness of yesteryear.
Of course Fulton’s fine people are still living there
The descendants of the craftsmen who toiled with skill, love and care.
But when times turned bad the investors did not show a stiff upper lip
No, siree Bob, they just cut, ran and literally abandoned ship.
Well my Elsie has always happily pointed her barrels at pheasant, woodcock and grouse
But now she’s pining to set her sights on a fatted, cosmopolite, globalist louse.
Easy now, and don’t you worry, I’m a levelheaded, law abiding sort of guy
So I will lock Elsie in the safe whenever Wall Street type friends drop by.