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Today I got rid of an old gun. It was a 22 caliber bolt action model, nothing unusual. It was my father's, except when I had it for a brief period in the 1970s. That was the last time it was fired.

My father and his four brothers grew up in eastern Iowa in the '30s and 40s. They obviously used the rifle a lot, the stock was beat up and a piece was broken off at the front. I don't recall my father ever mentioning what was shot at with the rifle. He wasn't a hunter while I was growing up.

When I left home at 18, my father generously gave me the VW bug which I had been abusing for a couple of years and the old gun. I was moving to a farm in Eastern Washington with a couple friends. It might come in handy.

Well, I terrorized some headlights on the old wrecked cars that rural folks are so fond of as yard ornaments; I stalked around the woods after various prey. I may have killed a grouse. I missed many ground squirrels who let nothing grow in our garden. I was not a hunter either.

When I left the farm for the last time, the snow was so deep they pulled me in the VW out, like a helpless bug, to the plowed road. I went west, the gun went back to dad. I wondered, and returned to be with my folks in 2000.

My father died in 2006 and is buried in the Riverside, California Veterans' Cemetery. My mother joined him two years later. It's a beautiful place, and if any doubt the value of government, visit and be proud of your contribution. The Honor Guard gave my father the gun salute, 21, I believe. They were older gentlemen from the different services, impeccable in dress and manners. They presented my mother with the flag and the shell casings.

My father's most memorable service accomplishment was getting washed out of the Navy Aircorps training in WW2 for getting lost and having to land in a farmer's field when he ran out of gas. He was re-assigned as an Electrical Mate, a much better match as he went on to become an Electrical Engineer, at Iowa State on the GI Bll.

So, I've had this old gun, been in the family for a while. I knew where it was if I ever had needed it. I'm moving out of the US, not taking it. My oldest brother hates guns, my other brother only wanted it if it was worth something, not interested in sentimental value.

So, it went to the Riverside Police today, along with 3 boxes of bullets. They were nice enough to accept it for destruction.

Good-bye, old gun.

Originally posted to on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by oo, Personal Storytellers, and Community Spotlight.


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