I was in my walk-in gun vault and a cased gun off to the side caught my eye. On the outside it said "Dad's shotgun". I opened it up and held it in my hands and in my mind I could bring up many memories. But the last time my Dad had this gun was not a good memory for me. We were back home, my boys, wife and me. It was Labor day weekend and our clan gathered for an impromptu family reunion. All my sisters were there and their families. My Dad was feeling poorly which really surprised me. He was the strongest man I ever knew and was rarely sick. Just as we were all preparing to leave Dad asked me a favor.
"Son, could you take my guns home with you and check them out and clean them up for hunting season?" he asked.
"Sure Dad be glad to, which one do you want me to take?" I asked.
"Take all of them son." he replied.
Now that was strange I thought, he will not be hunting with all of them, but I agreed and loaded all his guns, about 8 of them into the truck. A week later we got the word from Mom that Dad had cancer and three months later he died from it.
Sitting out in the garage by myself after that news I was talking to my Dad, and I told him, "Dad you knew you had that cancer eating in you didn't you. And you wanted to make sure that your only son got your guns." "Thanks Dad"
But Dad's guns do not bring just sad memories, I remember when my father bought the shotgun that I had in my hands. We went into town to get some tractor parts and I was always happy to go to the Hardware store in our little town. There were so many wonderful things for a boy to look at in hardware stores. And especially they sold the 10 cent packages of BB's for my treasured Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. Well I got my BB's but they didn't excite me half as much as the shotgun that Dad bought. It was not an expensive gun, rather a cheap farmers gun. A bolt action 16 ga. that could do many things from deer hunting to varmit patrol.
When we got home and Mom saw that shotgun she had a fit. Mom and Dad rarely argued but this time Mom had a full head of steam. She lamblasted Dad for spending money on that gun when we needed groceries and feed for the livestock. Me, I just stayed out of the way of adults arguing. The next morning Dad woke me up early and told me to bring my hunting knife with me. We hurried the chores and then took a walk to the pasture. I was all excited when Dad told me we were going to get us a deer. Dad took up a good stand and had me go up the hill and told me to walk through the corn field and make a lot of noise. I did his instructions and very shortly I heard one shot. BOOM! I ran down the hill as fast as I could and there Dad stood next to a big corn fed deer. The first shot that went through that gun brought us 50 lbs of good healthy meat for our family.
When we got the deer back home and showed it to Mom she just sniffed and said nothing. As a matter of fact the money that was spent on that shotgun was never mentioned by Mom again. Yes Dad did have a little grin on his face when he showed Mom the deer. I found that I had a grin on my face too as I put Dad's shotgun back in it's case and put it away.