BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE.
MODERN RUINS OF A MUSEUM
by Mark Sliwa
As a kid, I loved to blow stuff up. Gunpowder bombs to destroy my plastic model car collection or a Polish cannon that could shoot a hundred yards. For those who may not remember, a Polish cannon was five or six Pepsi cans that had the ends cut out. Construction was possible as soda cans were made of metal with a reinforced steel ring at each end. All were duct-taped together to resemble a small bazooka.
The base can was left partially vented at the drinking end and had a pinhole punched in its bottom. Ammunition was a tennis ball and propellant was lighter fluid. To operate, we stuffed the ball down the tube with a stick, squirted fluid in the pinhole, lit a match to the hole, and boom! The kick felt like a 12 gauge shotgun as you watched the ball sail across the neighborhood. I had the most powerful one in the neighborhood until my mother captured it and proceeded to crush it with dad’s workbench vise.
It is no surprise then that a place called Forbes Road Gun Museum held great interest for me as an early teen. Located in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania, at the top of Gravel Hill Road, it was a small brick two story Smithsonian of guns, some dating over 500 years. A field artillery cannon sat on the front lawn, commanding respect before one entered. The first floor served as a gunsmith shop and the second as the museum. An elderly man named Russell Payne was the owner and seemed to know (more…)