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."


 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.