Faith, Family, Friends and Firearms

Month: February 2022

Precious Memories

Looking back at memories on a certain social media site, I came across this tidbit from years past. So on a whim I’m updating it and expanding it and posting it here “just because”.

Things you have done during your lifetime:

(X) Married your best friend

() Gone on a blind date

() Skipped school

(X) Watched someone die

(X) Watched someone be born

(X) Watched a spiritual new birth

(X) Watched a pet die.

(X) Put down a pet

(X) Been to Canada

(X) Been to Mexico

(X) Been to Florida

(X) Jumped off a cliff

() Bungee jump

() Parasailed

() Been to Hawaii

(X) Been on a plane

(X) Flown a plane

() Been on a helicopter

() Been lost

(X) Been temporarily misplaced

(X) Gone to Washington, DC

(X) Gone to Washington state

(X) Visited the capitols of more than three countries

(X) Swam in the ocean

(X) Swam in more than one ocean

(X) Cried yourself to sleep

(X) Loaned a shoulder to cry on

(X) Played cops and robbers

() Recently colored with crayons

(X) Sang Karaoke

(X) Sung a capella

(X) Paid for a meal with coins only

(X) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch

() Been to New York City at Xmas time

(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t

() Made prank phone calls

() Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans

(X) Been to Ver o Peso in Belém do Pará

(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose & elsewhere

(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue

() Danced in the rain

() Written a letter to Santa Claus

() Been kissed under the mistletoe

(X) Watched the sunrise with someone

(X) Watched the sunset with someone

(X) Blown bubbles

() Gone ice-skating

(X) Gone to the movies

(X) Been deep sea fishing

(X) Fished in a cow pond

(X) Fished in a mountain stream

(X) Driven across the United States

(X) Driven from ocean to ocean in one day

(X) Visited Glacier National Park

(X) Visited Yosemite National Park

(X) Driven across South America

(X) Driven truck or combine in the harvest

(X) Been in a hot air balloon

() Been sky diving

() Gone snowmobiling

(X) Lived in more than one country

(X) Learned more than one language fluently

(X) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars

(X) Walked by the light of the full moon

(X) Walked by the light of the stars

() Seen a falling star and made a wish

(X) Watched a satellite sail across the night sky

(X) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser

(X) Marveled at the giant sequoias

(X) Seen a tree thicker than a giant sequoia

() Been on a cruise

() Traveled by train

(X) Traveled by motorcycle

(X) Traveled by bicycle

(X) Been horse back riding

(X) Been mule back riding

(X) Been donkey back riding

() Been camel back riding

() Ridden on a San Francisco CABLE CAR

(X) Been to Disney World or Disneyland

(X) Truly believe in the power of prayer

(X) Been in a rain forest

(X) Been in more than one rain forest

(X) Walked barefoot through a rain forest

(X) Seen whales in the ocean

(X) Seen porpoises in a river

(X) Been to Niagara Falls

(X) Been to Igaçú Falls

() Been to Victoria Falls

() Ridden on an elephant

(X) Ridden a mule or donkey

() Swam with dolphins

(X) Heard a rhea roar

(X) Seen a bear in the wild

() Seen a wolf in the wild

() Seen a cougar in the wild

() Been to a World Cup Soccer game

() Been to the Olympics

() Walked on the Great Wall of China

() Walked the Via Dolorosa

(X) Eaten a macaw or parrot

(X) Found half a worm in a piece of fruit you were eating

(X) Eaten a reptile

(X) Saw and heard a glacier crack

() Been spinnaker flying

(X) Been water-skiing

(X) Been snow-skiing

(X) Been canoeing

() Been to Westminster Abbey

() Been to the Louvre

() Been to the Sistine Chapel

(X) Been to the Museo de Oro in Bogotá

(X) Been to Brasilia – the most “modern” capital in the world

() Swam in the Mediterranean

(X) Swam in the Caribbean

() Been to a Major League Baseball game

(X) Been to a National Football League game

(X) Ever been skinny-dipping

(X) Laughed so hard you cried

() Follow a map for treasure

() Driven a dune buggy

(X) Driven a tractor

(X) Driven a manual transmission vehicle

(X) Driven a dual transmission vehicle

() Got lost in East L.A. after dark

(X) Walked the mean streets of Bogotá

(X) Swam in the Amazon

(X) Hunted on more than one continent

(X) Shot a 50 BMG rifle

(X) Shot the 1,025 Meter buffalo at the Whittington Center

(X) Participated in a national level shooting competition

(X) Placed in the top 10 in a national level shooting competition

(X) Taken first place in a national level shooting competition

(X) Fished in the Rockies

(X) Fished in the Andes

(X) Visited over 40 of the United States

() Visited ALL 50 United States

(X) Eaten food from a street stand in S. America

(X) Drunk fresh roasted and ground coffee prepared over a charcoal fire

(X) Eaten game you’ve killed and cooked yourself

(X) Eaten Rocky mountain oysters

(X) Eaten aligator

(X) Eaten piranha

(X) Eaten anaconda

() Eaten rattlesnake

() Crossed the Rocky mountains on motorcycle

(X) Crossed the Andes mountains on motorcycle

(X) Stood on the banks of the Amazon

(X) Stood on the banks of the Mississippi

(X) Stood on the banks of the Magdalena

() Stood on the banks of the Orinoco

() Stood on the banks of the Nile

() Stood on the banks of the Thames

() Stood on the banks of the Danube

() Stood on the banks of the Volga

() Stood on the banks of the Congo

(X) Read the Bible cover to cover

(X) Encouraged others to read the Bible

(X) Baptized a person into Christ.

(X) Taken a picture of a cloud

(X) Preached at a loved one’s funeral

(X) Marveled at a baby’s beauty

(X) Loaded your own ammunition

(X) Loaded ammunition with bullets you’ve made yourself

(X) Taken game with ammunition you’ve loaded yourself

(X) Built a firearm from scratch

(X) Marveled at the stupidity of those who ban things instead of teaching people proper behavior

(X) Helped a stranger along the road

(X) Been helped by a stranger along the road

(X) Allowed Christ to forgive your sins

(X) Adapted a Facebook “notes list”

The Unscratched Itch

Small Town, USA. It wasn’t what I pictured Colorado to be. My Mom was born and raised down in SW Colorado and from the old family farm you can see the San Juan mountains. Somehow the fact that the eastern side of the state is just an extension of the bleak Kansas and Nebraska plains had escaped my attention. So, when the chance came to spend a summer in COLORADO, visions of mountains, clear streams and trout fishing filled my mind. The application for the job of Intern Minister at the local church was sent and eventually I heard back that it was accepted.

Back in the days before GPS we’d travel with just a map and a general idea of which way we were headed so I packed my few belongings into the old Ford Fairlane, put a cooler of Aldi’s softdrinks on the front seat, buckled Bear into the center seat belt on the bench seat and headed west by north west. At the end of a looong day I rolled into the small town, looking in vain for the Rocky Mountains for which the state is famous.

The minister and his family gave me a warm welcome and after a few days of settling in, orientation and instruction, they took off on family vacation leaving me to fulfill the duties of a small town minister during their absence. Preparing for Sunday sermons and visiting members of the congregation were two of my main responsibilities and the congregation stepped up to supply the hungry intern with home cooked meals and fellowship. As I got to know the town and the inhabitants it wasn’t too long before I learned that sooner or later everyone stopped at Hardware Hank’s, the hardware store down on the main drag through town. So eventually this became my main hangout when not down at the church office or visiting in people’s homes.

One one side of the store, up against the wall, was the sporting goods section. They had a locked glass case where handguns for sale were stored, along with certain ammunition. They would do some trading and often a used handgun was placed in that case to tempt the customers with. The proprietor and I came to an understanding. I had free access to the case and could even check out any of the used handguns overnight as I’d return them cleaned and oiled and in good shape for sale. And if it was available I’d buy the ammo from them. It was a win/win situation. They sold the ammo and got a clean gun back in return.

There wasn’t a lot of turn over, but they did get some interesting pieces in occasionally. One time someone traded in a Dan Wesson 22 LR with a 6 inch barrel. I took that pistol out to the pit east of town and worked a box or two of ammo through it, enjoying the working of the action (fairly smooth as I recall) and the accuracy was good, too. That evening I cleaned it up, gave it a light oiling and the next day placed it back on the shelf at Hardware Hank’s, ready for sale. I don’t recall how long it was on the shelf, but one day I noticed it’d changed its look. I got the keys, opened the case and found it had morphed into a 6” 357 magnum! And they had a box of 357 Maximum right there on the shelf! Little did the proprietor know, nor I as a green kid who was still learning all he could but had a long way to go, that the Maximum and Magnum 357’s were not identical and the same. So that pistol sat there looking forlorn until in a conversation with the barber down at the donut and coffee shop revealed that not only was he a handloader, he loaded for the 357 Magnum and had a box of shells I could use to try out that Dan Wesson!

That afternoon the 357 accompanied me out to the pit east of town and I started my usual round of plinking. I don’t recall the load, but it was a semi-wadcutter bullet and through that Dan Wesson it shot like a laser. On a whim I set up a gallon jug at somewhere between 50 and 75 yards, further than anyone had a right to expect to hit anything with a handgun, according to the “common knowledge” of non-handgun shooters. This was my first experience in reaching out and it opened my eyes to what a handgun can do if you pay attention to what you’re doing! That jug was NOT safe at that “insane” distance, not at all. And a love for handgun shooting was born then and there. In my sheltered existence prior to this I’d never been exposed to the likes of Elmer Keith or Skeeter Skelton or any of the other masters of the handgun. Indeed it would be years before I stumbled upon their writings, but in the meantime I managed to pick up a pistol or two and continue my self taught education.

In those Post GCA of ‘68 days it wasn’t allowed for a wet behind the ears boy to purchase a handgun from a store, especially not across state lines, so the itch to own that Dan Wesson remained unscratched since it had been entered into the store’s book as required by the feds. Over three decades have passed and that itch remains unscratched. Dan Wessons have climbed in value and a bargain isn’t that easy to find. But the memory of the accuracy of that old sixgun remains. Who knows? Maybe someday the opportunity will come to relive those days of my youth when a used Dan Wesson taught me a bit about what can be done with a handgun.

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