View Full Version : Take a little time to talk...
August 10, 2010, 09:42 AM
When I was a little squirt, my dad had to travel a lot for his work, so we didn't do a lot of the stuff that kids ought to do with their fathers, like camp and hunt and such.
We did have a cabin up at the lake, so during the summer, we went up there on weekends and would do a little fishing and water skiing, but mostly Dad just sat around and relaxed - he really needed that time off to unwind. So, again, I didn't do a lot of stuff with him that kids ought to do.
Now, I honestly don't feel bad about it, because my dad worked hard so that we'd have opportunities in life that he didn't have as a kid. He grew up dirt-poor, so all of the success that he's achieved has been of his own doing (and he's achieved much success). Besides, I turned out OK, unless you ask my wife, but she has some funny ideas about what "OK" means.
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of getting around to my point. A couple of years ago, my folks were cleaning out the house, something they do ever so often, getting rid of stuff that's sort of accumulated over time. Dad wanted to know if I was interested in his old hunting rifle. Now, like I said, we'd never gone hunting. In fact, we'd only gone shooting a couple of times that I can remember, way back in the late '60s or early '70s. But I had always admired that rifle, even though it's nothing special - just an old Springfield 1903 with a nice Monte Carlo stock. So he gave it to me.
Last year, I mentioned that I'd picked up a few more guns and that I really had a blast shooting that 90 year old rifle because it was really accurate. That's when I discovered that he had no idea that I enjoyed shooting that much. Foolish me for never talking to him about it before. The next weekend, he opened up the closet and gave me almost all of his guns - family heirlooms ranging from great great grandpa's Civil War Springfield up to the most modern rifle, a 1929 vintage Winchester 1906.
I knew that he had the guns - that 1906 was the first gun I'd ever shot. But I did not realize just how much he enjoyed shooting. And, as I said, he did not realize just how much I enjoyed shooting!
For Father's Day this year, my sister and I bought him a Henry Golden Boy rifle, the first brand new rifle that he'd ever owned. And this year, he and I have gone shooting almost every weekend this summer. It's a 120 mile trip for me to make to visit, but I honestly can't wait for the weekend to arrive so that we can head out to the old gravel pit and bust up some tin cans.
So here's the point that I'm finally getting to: If you're as lucky as I am to have your dad still around (he's a very young 77 years old), make the most of the time that you have. I missed out on a lot of years of fun because I didn't speak up, but I'm making the most of whatever time we've got left together (and I hope that it's a long time!)
And if you're a dad, make sure that your kids know just how much fun popping holes in an old green beans can can be!
August 10, 2010, 10:10 AM
Very, Very, Well said Thank you for sharing.
August 10, 2010, 02:27 PM
My father's gone now, but I did have almost two years of that very special time to talk and get to know more about him.
He didn't like to shoot, but he bought me a rifle (Mossberg 140K bolt action .22) when I was 12. Wouldn't let me shoot it until I had earned the money to buy a cleaning kit ($2 - took me weeks to save).
We did go fishing quite a bit, but almost never shooting or hunting. I didn't find out until the last year of his life, during one of those talks, that he had killed two German soldiers during the war, both face-to-face and close enough to see into their eyes as they died, and those events haunted him the rest of his life. He well understood it was war, and kill or be killed, but those things are very traumatic, and he still had nightmares about it. He had never spoken to anyone other than my mother about it.
My experience is very different from yours, but the message is the same. I'm forever grateful that we chose to retire near family and that I got that time with him, and my mother as well, as a result. Take the opportunity, it's well worth it.
August 10, 2010, 02:35 PM
My Father has been gone for years now... but I do drive 12 hours one way to see my Mom every spring...usually more than one time per year.. Especially since time may be even more limited since she is battleing throat cancer now...Time runs out... Nothing lasts forever...cherish the time that you DO have.
August 10, 2010, 08:53 PM
First of all, HC, thanks for pointing out that there are things in life more important than getting to work on time.
I was married to my thankfully ex wife for 25 years (or was it 125 years). She was basically a primadonna who had a tough time getting along with anyone. She drove a wedge between me and my folks.
We split up in 96 and I remarried in 98. My relationship with my folks now has never been better thanks to my present wife.
My father is 84. He and my mother drove from Naples, Florida to Chesapeake, Virginia about three months ago to put up a loft in my garage. He designed it on Visio right down to the length of each piece of lumber. He threw his tools in the car and drove up and we put it together in two days.
We stopped every day at about 4:00 for happy hour. My mother had nothing to do with the loft project, so she and the missus painted the dining room, the living room and put up a chair rail.
This is not a one time occurence. We have a project that we work on about once a year. Theater room. Computer work stations in our office. Cabinets in the den. Ten years ago we completely rennovated a house that was built in 1902.
I owe this renewed relationship with my folks to the present Mrs. Dr. Hoy. It would take hours to relate all of the things she does to keep the relationship strong because she knows it is important to me.
HC, I think the photo of your Dad is special for a somewhat odd reason. Here it is.
What are you thinking when you are aiming a weapon at some target? Don't you kind of put everything else out of your mind. Aiming a weapon is one of the few truly personal activities. Most of the time when you take a photo of someone they are making sure they are smiling, the are adjusting their tie or making sure the shirt is tucked in. But in that photo of your Dad he was concentrating, just for a moment on nothing but the rifle, the target, the sights, his finger. That was a moment that you gave to him and it is dead right that you should cherish it.
Thanks again for the post.
August 10, 2010, 08:55 PM
Get a letter signed by your father attesting that it belonged to a g-g-g-grandfather. Then contact the National Archives and get his service record. Attaching the story increases the value of the gun. Not that you're going to sell it, but it does make it more interesting when there's a story behind it. You might also see if you can get a regimental history too.
August 10, 2010, 09:19 PM
Very good advice, especially the part about a copy of his service record. Many were destroyed in a fire in the 70's, and I had a great deal of trouble getting my father's record for the family archives; it would have been much easier had he been available to answer some questions about where and when he entered and left the service, what schools and training he'd had, and where he embarked for Europe, etc.
August 10, 2010, 09:41 PM
I hate the thought of not having my old man around. It highlights the fact that we need to make the most of our time here on earth.
August 10, 2010, 09:55 PM
"And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon."
Jus' kiddin'....but I did start to think about that song when I first started reading your post. That was a very nice story to share with the rest of us.
My dad is still around and in his 70's. Every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas I drive on up to Atlanta to see the parental units. One thing you can count on I'm plenty busy helping the ol' man get caught up with his honey do list that mom keeps adding to. The poor fella is more busy now than before he retired from Boeing. Every once in a blue moon the folks come on down to Orlando. I always make sure I put them to work on one of my projects....LOL! Last time they were down here I put them to work helping me build a fence. I kind of feel bad sometimes about puttin' a couple of senior citizens to work like that. But heck, I don't feel so bad when I think about the time I was 25 feet up on a ladder cleaning out the slime in their gutters and a snake went slithering by. LOL, we had a lot of projects we've worked on together and I'm thankful for the time we spent.
I don't have a lot of dad/gun stories to talk about other than the one time us kids chipped in to buy him a rifle. Usually, it works the other way around for most folks and their families. But when dad turned 43 back in 1979 us kids (I was 15 years old) bought dad a Ruger 10/22 Deluxe rifle for his birthday. He still has that rifle but I bet less than 100 rounds have gone through it. More recently dad had a problem with squirrels at the house. He bought an air pump pellet rifle to handle the problem. Pretty funny to see ol' dad slowly open up the sliding back door and pop those pests. Reminds me of Elmer Fudd.
"When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then"
August 10, 2010, 10:16 PM
Gary and mykeal, not only do I have the letter, but I also have a copy of the regimental history, thanks to the efforts of the state government of Michigan (back around 1900). I also have what there is of my great great grandpa's service record thanks to Ancestry.com. It includes his dates of service and dates of promotion.
And Dad even has great great grandpa's old Grand Army of the Republic photo:
The old rifle has the regiment number (27th Michigan Volunteer Infantry) stamped into the stock, too!
Sometime around last August, I mentioned to my dad that I was researching the family tree. Now, I know that he loves history, just like I do. But I was just about floored when he pulled out a big box full of hundreds of pictures and letters that go back to around 1810. It was I don't think that I wuld have been more surprised if he'd dropped a bag full of gold doubloons on the table.
So, my wife (who volunteers Saturdays at our local museum) and I spent the winter cataloging and properly preserving all of those documents. I scanned most of them and made a CD to give to everyone in the family. And then, this spring, we gave the box back to Dad, with everything in individual archival sleeves, along with an index.
Thank God that the people who had those pictures made had the sense to write down who was in 'em!
I'm glad that I was able to bring back some fond memories. And DiscoRacing brought up a very good point - Don't forget your mother!!!
August 11, 2010, 03:37 AM
What a find!
August 11, 2010, 05:13 AM
I never went shooting with my Dad, but he did leave an old Remington Model 12 pump .22 that was made in the 1920's. I came to find out that it was missing the firing pin, it had been dry pumped so many times that the chamber mouth was too peened for the rounds to chamber, part of the wood was from a Winchester, the blue finish had been roughly sanded off the entire gun by my brother and then it just sat in the closet unfired for many years. However due to the lack of use it has a minty bore.
Then several years ago I met a Texas gunsmith online who had a love for Model 12's and he offered to fix up what he called "the old gal" for me. So he did all of the work, replacing all of the wood, buffing and hot bluing the metal, replacing some parts including making a new front sight, fixing the chamber mouth and even filling in the barrel stamping with some gold leaf paint. It all cost a little over $300 but it was done as an honor and now my 3 boys can shoot it too.
So Dad's old gal is still hanging around making life more of a pleasure.
And life is not just about what you did or didn't do with your Dad, but it's also about what he wanted you to do without him. :)
August 11, 2010, 07:36 AM
A man's legacy is his children. We pay him tribute by our own actions and thoughts. We can do no better than act such that he will be proud to point us out to the other angels, and for them to say, "Well done, sir."
August 11, 2010, 04:56 PM
My dad rarely fired his sporterized Mauser 98, or his 12 gauge Winchester pump, unless he was in the woods with game in front of him.
He did come out and walk around with my youngest son and I one afternoon during grouse season three years ago. It was great to have three generations looking for grouse together even though we didn't find any.
Dad died last December and willed his guns to my younger brother. They are still here, however, and my youngest son and i took dad's Mauser out to the range and fired it a few weeks ago. It was a good way for both of us to remember dad.
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