Autumn

Autumn

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Old Man's Promise

The phone call came early this morning. 

"Stephen, you know Percy died."

"Yes, mam,  I'm very sorry."

"Well, he promised you this gun, and if it's okay with you, I'd like to drop it off today."

Percy had been a customer for well over twenty years. He wasn't the most likeable man in the world and as far as firearms, well, he didn't think much of them. Percy liked to fish and as an aside to his hobby crafted some of the finest handmade surf rods in Florida. When it came to reel repair he had the touch of a watchmaker. Yet if push came to shove his greatest passion was literature. Books, we  had in common. Thus, our friendship.

One day, years ago, he said, "When I cop a squat at the gates of heaven I want you to have my rifle." Percy had a way with words.

I'd never seen his rifle. Didn't give it a second thought. Until this morning.

I was busy when she parked and rang the doorbell. She asked if I'd walk outside and carry the bundle inside for her. She had it packed within two black trash bags. I removed it and found a beautiful Savage model 24 over and under chambered in .22/.410. The date code indicated she'd left the shop in 1960. Good 'ole Percy.

"He wanted you to have it. He made me promise to give this rifle to you."

"No, mam."

"But....."

 I smiled at her and gave her a rub on her shoulders. She's such a tiny little lady. "Tell 'ya what. Let's break out the Bluebook and check its value."

She didn't argue. I paid for Percy's gift.



Later, we spoke of Percy and his last days. I asked after her health and if the adjustment to a life without her husband had been difficult. She replied, "At first, yes. Now, well, I haven't the time to think about it. The garage needs to be cleaned and my goodness his junk is stacked knee deep. When I find them old bullets I'll bring them to you too."

I smiled and said thanks.

Then, she said,  "You know, he left that old pistol in his sock drawer. I don't know if its loaded or not. I took the awful thing and stuck it into a paper bag. When I get the time you want me to drive it over?"

Please, don't judge me.

I said, "Yes, mam, that would be just fine."

"I'm scared of guns, Stephen."

"Understandable, Mrs. Campbell."

She's such a sweet little lady....

*****

If you, dear reader, would like to learn more about this wonderful firearm, a highly collectable piece, visit, here.

Stephen







20 comments:

  1. corrected for spelling

    I'm sure that Mr. Percy thinks more of you now than he did before.

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    1. I hope so...he'd didn't think much of me in the first place. Thanks, Matt.

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  2. It was nice of him to remember you - and nicer of you, to pay his widow for that rifle.

    Ya done good, son. :)

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    1. Just seemed the right thing to do...besides, she's an eighty five year old widow. I'm certain she needs the cash. I like to sleep well at night.

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  3. Nice rifle and good on ya for paying her too.

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    1. Thank you, my friend. She is a classic, fine wood and strong steel.

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  4. You are a good, honorable man Stephen. I can understand why your friend wanted you to have his rifle. My Grandson will get my little Savage Mark ll when I'm gone. (If I don't wear it out first)!

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    1. Good, honorable....not sure, but I try. Your grandson is a lucky fella...but go ahead and wear it out. Thanks, my sweet friend.

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  5. I don't even want to know what my savage .22/20 is worth. That only matters if you are going to sell it.

    Ya done good buddy.

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    Replies
    1. Very, very true, and thanks, my friend. I want to stand before my maker with at least half a chance....

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  6. I remember as a young teen drooling over the Savage 24C, which was the .22LR/20-Gauge, with short barrels and ammo storage in the butt. Should have had my parents buy it for me instead of the Marlin I eventually got. Oh, well.

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    1. It's never too late, Bob....find one.

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  7. Seems like most of the people I've known are dead now. I make a concerted effort not to think about it, but I quit taking my college alumni magazine because the first thing I did was look up the in memorium section to see who I knew listed there.

    You did the old lady a favor with the guns. She didn't want them and you will take care of them.

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    1. Harry, I lose a friend just about every damn month. If you allow, it can be pretty darn depressing.

      Most seniors, especially the widows, have a pretty tough time of it when they lose their spouse. She'll only be allowed a fraction of his retirement and SSI. It was the least I could do for her.

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  8. Well that was damned nice of you and a touch I wouldn't have thought of but now that you told us about it I will always keep it in mind.

    Thank you.

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    1. We must care for our own....thanks, my friend.

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  9. Good for you and I'm sure your time and conversations meant a lot to him and his wife both...

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    1. I'll be so lucky if just remembered with a smile....

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  10. Just a thought...

    When she said she's afraid of guns, in the context of a pistol in the sock drawer, maybe she was asking if you'd come get it out of there for her? Otherwise, if she wanted rid of it, seems like she'd have brought it along.

    I dunno, just thinking...

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    Replies
    1. John, valid point. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks.

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