In A Long Way from Chicago, what does grandma tell Joe and Alice, as well as the reporter on how Shotgun got his name. What caused the gauze to move over the coffin?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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During the wake for Shotgun Cheatham's in Richard Peck's A Long Way from Chicago, Grandma makes up a story about how the dead man got his nickname "Shotgun".

She says that he got his name in the Civil War, where he served with Illinois Volunteers in 1862. Supposedly, he was even with Ulysses Grant in the battle of Vicksburg, and that Grant gave him the name. That Shotgun did not sport any government shotguns, but his own Remington, which he used to kill quail

But other stories also surrounded Shotgun. Town gossip Effie and many others had also stories about him hanging out with Jesse James and his click. Others related that  when Shotgun was a small boy, around 10 years old, he went out "with the big boys" to shoot quail. Since he was a bad shot, and had a sty in one eye, he could not catch up to the others.  The day of the quail shooting, Shotgun aimed at an old cow, instead, shooting and killing it on the spot. The boys took the gun away from him and the name "Shotgun" stuck.

All the stories continued to make Shotgun all the more enigmatic to the reporter. During the vigil for the body, a cat had gotten into Shotgun's coffin, and began to play with the gauze that covered him. As a result, the gauze moved and even fell to the ground at one point. Everyone at first thought the dead man was moving.

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