Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Everyone has a mental milestone for clicking off the years.  Some keep track of birthdays, some check off holidays, kids mostly count the summers.  They're really just checkmarks in your brain, 15 seconds worth of  "Yep, I made it through another one."    As the old saying goes, every birthday is a good one.

Mine seem to roll over when I sit down at the end of the season to clean my guns.  They get a good scrubbin' and oilin' sometime in March, the 870 might get a bonus round if I pull the trigger during turkey season.  I guess some folks consider it a chore, at least from the looks of their guns.  I can't imagine it.  A gun will last several lifetimes if you just take a little care of it.  It will talk to the next generation.

gun cleaning kit

There's the argument that a gun is not meant to sit on a rack and look pretty, it's meant to dispatch prey, and yeah, I guess it is.  As long as you can get new shells in and old shells out with relative ease the rest is irrelevant.  I suppose.  But it sorta becomes disposable under that train of thought.  Scratches and dings from hard use are fine, the untold stories that guns carry from generation to generation.  Rust from neglect isn't.

Okay, back on track....

gun cleaning patches
Swimming in the vapors of Hoppe's No. 9 I noted that I'd put another one in the books.  It wasn't exactly one for the ages but in any number of ways it could've been worse.  If anything it served to jolt me into the reality of my priorities, slave that I am to some of them.  The year I owned my first bird dog I hunted every single weekend of the season, several holidays, and threw in a few weekdays for gravy.  Of course at that point in time I had no mortgage, no girlfriend, definitely no kids, a job that I just assumed would always be there, and retirement was a word for old people.  We found a lot of birds that year.

That bird dog is gone.  The shotgun is still with me and I've added one to the roster.  I've owned two houses, held three jobs, found a good wife, spawned two kids, discovered the first gray hair, learned a few hard things about retirement, started thinking about college again (not for me, although I did enjoy Old School), and had aches and pains too numerous to list.  But in the end I'm still here, cleaning these guns one more time.

gun barrel brush

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