Thursday, September 20, 2007

Winchester 1200

This gun means more to me than all the rest combined. It is my Grandfather's shotgun. What else needs to be said? My Pa is living in a nursing home now. I took his shotgun from his house for safekeeping, and took my Remington 870 up there so my Dad, who is staying at the house would have a shotgun around. The Wal Mart special 870 would not be a great loss. The 1200 would kill me.

I remember this gun from childhood. Back when Pa could get around and had his little farm it was a fixture. He used it to "hunt" with. I believe all he ever killed while hunting was an unfortunate jackrabbit that hopped into his path. He brought it home and told my Grandma, "Dot look! It blew it's head clean off!". Another memory involved a tarantula on the front porch. He somehow managed to miss the tarantula on the first shot, blowing a big hole in the porch. I remember yelling, "How you gonna miss from 10 feet away with a shotgun?!". A few seconds later another hole appeared where the tarantula had been. While he accomplished his goal, I think he thought better of it when he was replacing those boards on the porch and repainting the whole thing.

I was allowed to use the gun for a few rabbit/dove/shooting objects in the pond excursions once in a while when I turned 15. I must have put 30 boxes of shells through it in a couple months.

This old shotgun is nothing special. It has a decent wood stock and forearm with a few scratches. The bluing is in great shape except for a couple of small dings, and their was a few small rust spots on the barrel which I took care of. Honestly though, it may as well be a fine European model as far as I am concerned. The memories of Pa and his land, that he later lost, are some of the best of my childhood. I wish Grandma would not have had that heart attack that bankrupted him at the time. I would have loved it if he could have spent some more years out there on his beloved patch of North Texas. He had 25 acres, but to us kids it may as well have been 5,000. We roamed it, along with most of the adjacent larger properties for years. Several deer were even taken out there. None by Pa though. He was always to worried about hitting some non-existent person a mile away if he took the shot. Either that, or he just couldn't bring himself to destroy what he saw as God's creative beauty at work.

My Pa is the best man I have ever known. I have never heard him cuss, drink, or smoke. He has served God as well as he could since he was a teenager, and worked hard selling auto parts for a long time to support his family. He has a youthful innocence and sense of humor that makes me weep when I think about losing him. This old shotgun ain't much, but it is worth the world to me.