Sunday, March 30, 2008

times, they have changed...(apologies to dylan)

i always considered myself fortunate, because my dad knew about guns. not that he was a big collector or shooting enthusiast; raising five children and six long hard days a week as an agricultural tire salesman to provide for those kids pretty much precluded any expensive hobbies for him...i really only remember him owning three guns; my earliest memories before mill strikes and lockouts forced the family to move from middle tennessee where i was born in '54 to palm beach county, fla. when i was four, were of an old double barrel standing in the closet and a big revolver that i later learned was a .45 long colt army model...but after months of walking the picket line, the mill closed for good and the guns had to be sold along with the house, the new chevy, dad's tools, and everything else that six years of hard work as a union knitting mill operator had provided for his young family. my brother jerry was six and about to start school, i was four, and baby brother don was just six months old when we headed south in a secondhand car over icy mountain roads with just the four of us and what possessions the car could hold, to the promised land of sunshine and plentiful jobs...

except that five years, five houses, and four schools later in the rundown neighborhoods of west palm beach, the family had grown by one girl with another one due, and the family was breaking down under the financial strain; a series of hard jobs, delivering ice cream to stores, working in a gas station, and my mom working the counter at night at the a&w root beer stand, was not enough to provide for a big and growing family and mom and dad started fighting all the time...

then dad heard about another palm beach county; thirty miles inland, the half of the county that bordered the east side of lake okeechobee was the largest, most fertile black soil agricultural region in the nation...truly like another world from the beehive of growth and activity along the palm beach coastline, here the farming communities of canal point, pahokee, and belle glade featured sugar cane fields, corn, beans, radishes, celery, and more, as the "winter vegatable capital of the world" stretched as far as the eye could see...and the small town atmosphere and family oriented activities in the towns seemed like a dream come true...and in many ways it was, because the ag tire job that would become his life's work and provide a solid middle class upbringing for his five kids, also put my dad on the cutting edge of transforming the transportation of the sprawling region's crops to the mills and packing houses by converting track bulldozers to high-speed mini train engines mounted on big aircraft-style flotation tires capable of pulling a train of ten big wagonloads of sugarcane or produce across the across the soft muck fields...

so that's how we ended up out there along highway 98 three miles out of canal point, and surrounded by those cane fields that provided such a rich .22 plinking and learning environment...my dad did finally get another gun; he won a big tire sales contest in the mid '60's and took home first prize of a brand new winchester 12 gauge autoloader...he was proud of that gun, although i used it more than he did and he made sure that it went to me when he died fifteen years ago...so when i say he knew about guns, and that i felt lucky, it's more that he knew about the power and the importance of the gun, what it represents, the rights and sacrifices that make owning them possible for the common man, and the great responsibility that owning and using them carries...it's the very basis of my belief in and defense of the Constitution and it's provisions.

so anyway, we kids were dad's hobby, and my interest in shooting, sparked by a gem of a canal point elementary school library book (i started there toward the end of third grade, there was just one class for each of grades one through eight in that old schoolhouse, and coming from a city school i was shocked and delighted that half the kids went barefoot, and the other half was barefoot too after recess), the book was "a boy and his gun"; reading it, feeling it, loving it resulted in my badgering dad unmercifully as i progressed through the bb gun phase until on Christmas morning when i was nine, the most beautiful little marlin single shot .22 appeared beneath the tree.

i, my dad, and older brother jerry (he liked my rifle so much he spent his Christmas money the next week on an identical one, paying the enormous sum of $15 at the western auto store in nearby clewiston, fl) spent many days and nights wandering around those sugar cane fields near our home, plinking away, and unbeknown to my brother and me, learning safety, proper handling, and life lessons, all along the way...

one big lesson was making each shot count; for one thing the little marlins required opening the bolt, dropping in your cartridge, closing the bolt, pulling back the spring loaded hammer knob, and sliding off the safety before you were ready to take aim, so forget about popping off successive shots...

and of course we had to listen to the "make every shot count" backstory whereby my dad and his brother during the 1930's depression each got one bullet, and if they didn't bring back a rabbit or squirrel from that woodlot in middle tennessee (about where the saturn car plant now stands) they didn't have meat for dinner that night...and speaking of squirrel, the story transcended ordinary accuracy and marksmanship by virtue of what he called "barkin'" the squirrel; in other words shooting the tree bark under the squirrel, knocking him stunned to the ground rather than tearing up the meat with a direct hit...i kinda filed that one away along with the two-mile each way walk to school through four-foot drifts...but the old man was a pretty tight shot, so i never really knew for sure.

anyway, that old stuff had a lasting effect on me; to this day i instinctively drop a long gun into the crook of my elbow with the barrel aiming at only the ground anytime i'm walking with one...i don't know if this stuff helped lead me into a thirty year career as a gun dealer, or made me a better, safer gun handler...but it sure gives me fond memories, and an appreciation of what is real and good and important in this world; and memories and lessons like this are something that i'm afraid are going to be sadly lacking as subsequent generations reach middle age...and that to me is truly a sad thing.

jtc

Saturday, March 29, 2008

you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

thanks to the munchkin wrangler for pointing me to this inspiring article; this young man is a true American, and i don't care where he was born...and that goes for the munchkin wrangler himself, too...spend some time at his site; you will be impressed!

all of this brought to mind three old truisms my dad pounded into me that have rung true many times over the years...and i think a lot of native born Americans should consider them, and in this order...

1). familiarity breeds contempt...

2). absence makes the heart grow fonder...

3). you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

too bad that number three has often kicked in before number one is understood and number two becomes apparent...and by that time it might be too late...

Monday, March 24, 2008

was he drunk or just stupid?

apparently, for the first time since airline pilots have been carrying handguns in cockpits (one of the good policy decisions coming out of the 9/11 terrorist attacks), a shot has been fired during a flight...

was a courageous airline captain able to neutralize an attacker, or stop a hijacker from commandeering the flight? uhh, no, it seems there was an "accidental discharge" of the us airways pilot's firearm while the plane was on landing approach in charlotte, nc...

now, in more than 30 years as a firearms dealer, shooter, and collector, i've handled, bought, sold, stripped, cleaned, repaired, and fired around 50,000 firearms by my best guesstimate, and yes, i've had a few (three to be exact) a.d.'s...more on those in a future post...

but can someone tell me how in the hell a pilot could be setting up a bazillion ton aircraft for landing, dealing with multiple radio contacts, and monitoring a dazzling array of computers and gauges, could have the time to be fondling his firearm? was he showing it off to the hot new stewardess over a few drinks? was he cleaning the damn thing? was he sitting there with it on his lap and a bit of turbulence knocked it on the floor?

holy shit, it really inspires confidence in the guy who's holding your life in his ahem...capable, steady hands...

update...it has become apparent (see the video on xavier's blog) that a holster apparently designed by committee and a padlocking! requirement mandated by our good friends at tsa (the stupid asses) were likely significant contributing factors to this accidental discharge...that in no way alleviates culpability on the part of the pilot; he alone was in control of that firearm when it discharged, and he alone could have prevented it...(and the obvious question is, given the absurdity of the factors mentioned above, why in the hell would that firearm be cocked and chambered?).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

the golden rule in practice...

xavier has a nice post about guns, honesty, memories, and what it means to be a good man...here is my response;

good man, xavier: had you been able to examine the rest of the collection you might well have been able to help her generate significantly more funds, and possibly even advise her to keep a special piece or two for that young man...

she also might have visited the pawnbroker first; don't know about where you are, but here retail gunshops, as they depend only on their firearms business for their profit, tend to pay quite a bit under dealer price for walk-in purchases, and rarely show the seller retail values for comparison...and sadly, the so-called friends that many allow to "help" tend to swoop in like vultures with little regard for the best interests of the heir...

my practice in my pawnshop was to help a person in her position make good choices by identifying with them the pieces they owned in the bluebook and how to judge condition, etc., show them what good retail buyers would pay individually, and then what i would pay as a wholesale lot, which depending on the pieces involved, was usually 20%-50% less than the retail totals...

sometimes, they would choose to advertise for retail buyers armed with the information i provided them, but most of the time the sellers saw the value of receiving "cash on the barrel" and transferring to a licensed dealer thereby avoiding any liability concerns, and often they would thank me for my help and honest approach...(i took the same approach with fine estate jewelry pieces, etc.).

as mr. bergeron taught me many years ago, it's easy to make a quick dishonest buck, but far more profitable in the long run, both on earth and in the hereafter, to be an honorable man and businessman.

your friend and her young son are fortunate to have you as a friend, and i think not only your mom and dad, but also that boy's dad, would be very proud of you...jtc

Thursday, March 20, 2008

what's this i hear about arms sales?

the munchkin wrangler has a thought-provoking post about personal rights and freedom: there are lots of "well-meaning" folks who want to make your choices for you...my response to his post was this...


remember gilda radner’s snl skits of an old lady doing op eds about subjects she misunderstood?

in the early 80’s when a live call-in talk radio program’s leftist host and decidedly liberal palm beach jewish listenership were earnestly deriding the reagan administration for providing weapons to south american contras, i couldn’t resist calling in with my best imitation of gilda’s character’s harpy voice:

“what’s all this i hear about arms sales? the way i see it, it’s a free country…everybody has two arms; if they only need one, why shouldn’t they be allowed to sell one if they want to?…”

after several seconds of stunned silence, the show’s hosts said “ma’am we’re talking about guns, you know? that kind of arms, not the kind with hands…”

to which i, still in character, replied “ohhh….never mind!”

only after i hung up did they start to get the bit, and tried to sternly say that this was a serious, somber subject they were discussing…but they couldn’t hold back the giggles, and by the time they went to commercial break, both were in full belly laugh mode.

well, it might have been comedy, but the old lady was right…and it’s just another instance where the various vested interests will try to seperate their particular sacred cow from the herd of freedoms that all Americans, at least in theory, enjoy, summed up by one simple libertarian credo: in America, “an individual is free to do and act as he pleases, as long as he harms or infringes on the rights of no other individual.” simple, isn’t it? and it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about arms, kidneys, guns, drugs, or nookie; it’s really the only law we need. jtc

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

i can't believe it's been fifteen years...

my dad passed away fifteen years ago today...he was just sixty-five, but the damage done to his lungs from the smoking habit he picked up as a boy in wwll had him tethered to an oxygen generating machine and he was unable to leave his house for the last year of his life, even though he kicked the habit cold-turkey years before.

he was divorced and lived alone, so his five children took turns in that final year spending the night with him, preparing his middle of the night breathing treatment, trying to make him comfortable, and getting to know him better than they had during all those years he worked so hard to raise us and teach us.

he wasn't a perfect man, or a perfect father, and he would spend some of his talks with us as we took our nightly turns, apologizing for what he thought were his failings...i'm glad i was able to tell him this: there was never a day in my life, and believe me when i say i was an imperfect son, that i had any inkling of doubt of his love and devotion to me, or that he would give up his life for me in an instant. that to me is the very definition of success as a father, and i told him that if i could just leave my own three children with that knowledge, and the love and peace and security that it imbues, then i will consider myself a success.

it was my turn to take care of him the night that he died, and i was on the way from my sebring home to his by lake okeechobee, about a two hour drive, when a spell of difficult breathing caused his heart to overwork and give out...that was before everyone had cell phones, so my brothers and sisters waited for me at his house to give me the news, and even though we knew it would happen eventually, when it did it felt like being slammed in the chest by a truck; i know it would have been hard to watch, but i wish i could have been there when he left us.

i love you, Dad...i think of you, feel you in my heart, and hear you in my mind nearly every day; i can't believe you've been gone fifteen years...but i know i will see you again someday. God bless you and keep you until then.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2008: a new odyssey beyond even his imagination



more than a prolific author of futuristic novels, arthur c. clarke was in truth a visionary, or a seer of things to come, and in fact was the inspiration for things that might not have been, were it not for his insight and imagination.

but even he was unable to imagine or comprehend the ultimate journey beyond the stars when his life on earth was done...may God accept him into Heaven and keep his soul and brilliant mind for the rest of us to meet and greet when our own time comes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

this crazy chick rocks my socks off!


i'm a pretty conservative guy, but still a child of the sixties, and high octane rock still resounds through my soul; haven't heard much new stuff that shakes me up lately, but a while back as i channel surfed the idiot box i came across the grammy awards just as they were introducing amy winehouse...i had heard of her and her bad behavior but wrote her off as just another in a long line of lowtone wannabe celebs;

then they went to her live from london performance (her behavior precluded travelling here), holy shit, this is probably the best blend of rock, blues, and soul that i've heard in thirty years...even if you've heard it before, this youtube blurb of her 2-song grammy set is worth another listen (her backup boys and band is amazing, too...that sax!) copy and paste this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v5o1oiWOcc

addendum: you might want to hurry if you're gonna see this girl; she seems bent on self destruction through heroin, crack, and who knows what else...sad that some of the best talent is often the most self-destructive...must be a link there somewhere.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

kinda like sarah brady joining the board of the nra...

according to this reuter's report, meg whitman of ebay fame has signed on to be john mccain's campaign co-chair and policy adviser...

let's hope she doesn't advise the same attitude and policy towards anything firearm related that she mandated at ebay's communist headquarters in san francisco...

2A's day in court!


the high court prepares to hear and rule on one of the most important cases of our time, d.c. v. heller...see a good synopsis here...and may God and the Founders guide the hands and minds of the justices...

addendum: to check out another very cool chick with a gun, go to breda's place...i kinda swiped this other cute chick logo from her and got caught red...er...yellow-handed...

eight is enough!


after eight consecutive overall wins at the 12 hours of sebring, audi falls to not only a porsche, but a porsche in the next lower class from the state-of-the-art diesel-fired audi entrants...in a race where speed is secondary to durability, the tdi audi's and the upstart diesel peugeot just couldn't avoid enough of the crashes and mechanical failures to endure the punishing track and 12 hour duration of the american lemans first race of the season and precursor to the 24 hours of lemans.

and roger penske, the icon of auto racing whose team also won the daytona 500 in this year's first and all-important nascar race, sees his team improbably leap past the top category cars to win not just class but overall honors at sebring in the same year that he was inducted into the 12 hours of sebring hall of fame.

that same induction ceremony also honored audi, the first time a nameplate has garnered that prize; alas, it was apparently a jinx, as the two audi entrants which have finished first and second several times in their eight year championship reign, failed ignobly and are beaten back by the lesser p2 class porsche, and perhaps the most winning brand in endurance racing history regains it premier position...at least for now.

congratulations to porsche, the winning team of drivers, and most of all to roger penske himself, who has endured failure and tragedy but persevered to attain the pinnacle level of success and recognition in all of his racing endeavors.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

it ain't easy...in memory of nick


There has been much speculation about what might have happened in the recent senseless murders of college students if they had been armed...this story goes to show that even someone armed and very well trained and prepared cannot always protect himself; a permit to carry a firearm can definitely improve the odds, but is by no means a guarantee of safety and self defense...incidentally, it's now been more than fourteen months since this cold-blooded murder occurred, and the little cretin who perpetrated it is not even close to trial, let alone receiving the justice he so richly deserves (not that any punishment he eventually receives could really be called justice)...

Also I've been asked many times what prompted me to drop my Federal Firearms License even before I decided to sell my business and retire. I wrote the following in a response to one of Xavier's Idiots With Guns series, and it probably explains better than anything I could write here...

*************************************************************************
Yes, Xavier, there are plenty of idiots with guns, and the goofballs you show in your post do qualify; we'll probably be reading about one or more of them being involved in a "tragic accident" which will stir once again the mindless calls for "control" of these "dangerous devices". Yes, there are idiots with guns, and then there is abject evil incarnate with guns...

Two days ago, on Friday 1/12/07 in the little town of Sebring, FL where I operated my gun and pawn shop for the last twenty years, an unspeakable piece of shit lured a state trooper to stop his car with the stated intent of shooting him. Trooper Nick Sottile was a good and decent man, had lived in the area most of his life, and had 24 years with the Florida Highway Patrol. He was one year from retirement when this 19 year old monster shot him in the neck as he approached the car; he died a few hours later.

I knew Nick, but not well. However, his brother Jimmy, who has taken on the role of family spokesman, facing a media onslaught while dealing with his own grief and worrying about his elderly father and Nick's family, is my good friend and former business acquaintance. Jimmy is a former detective with the county sheriff's office, now a bondsman, and I sold him several firearms over the years, along with jewelry for his family, tools for his construction hobby, and a commercial rental property. Most of the 200 or so sworn officers with the HCSO were acquaintances and customers of mine, and I counted many of them among my friends.

I've mentioned before in my responses to your posts that I retired from my business recently. What I haven't said is that I relinquished my FFL nearly two years prior when it was due for renewal. If I could have found some way to limit the interest in my firearms to law enforcement, collectors and afficionados such as yourself, and law-abiding individuals with an interest in sport shooting or a need for self protection, I would have loved to continue in the business, as I truly enjoyed it and believe I served a genuine need and purpose in the community. But more and more in the later years, many of the lookers were of a distinctly different, and potentially dangerous, ilk. Young ones that I could overhear talking about handguns and paramilitary rifles in the vernacular lifted directly from rap songs, etc., and quite a few kamo-kommandos with a keen interest in night-vision, suppressors, magazine capacity, and receiver convertability. Most were fairly innocuous, and some likely could not buy a firearm from an FFL if they wanted to, but more and more were really scary.

I prided myself on being observant, prepared, and most of all able to head off any evil intent with words and eye contact; in thirty years, thank God, I never found it necessary to draw down on anyone in my store, though there were times when my hand was on my pistolgrip 12-gauge under the counter. But I came to believe I was tempting fate, and not finding any way to limit exposure to my inventory to more palatable types (for one thing, who am I to prejudge?) other than to hold the customers ID while they held my firearms, I finally decided to give up. I know that's not what you want to hear, and I, being as ardent of a Libertarian (not the goofy political party, but the true "A free American can do and act as he sees fit as long as he harms no other" freedom-lover) and vocal defender of 2A as you'll ever find, would agree with you. But the inherent and increasing liability facing FFL's, when added to the unsolvable juxtaposition of ideals with self and public protection, left me in my mind with no other choice.

I mourn Nick, and pray for his family, and I know that I didn't sell this particular animal his "cheap chrome automatic" (as the pistol he used has been described). But could one of the hundreds of Lorcins, Jennings, Davis, or other under $100 handguns I sold over the years have made it into his hands? I don't know, and in any case there's nothing I could do to prevent it, or for that matter to keep him or his many brethren from illegally obtaining firearms on the street, at gunshows, flea markets, classifieds, or in burglaries; besides, it could just as easily have been a Colt, S&W, or other quality piece of hardware, and I sold a lot more of those than junkers.

What is the answer, and why did a good man who gave his life to protecting others have to make the ultimate sacrifice so wastefully? Rhetorical question to be sure, and only dealing effectively with society's root ills and evils can possibly help, along with improving the odds with training, exercising carry rights, and more than anything being always vigilant and aware of one's surroundings. But as for me, I just don't have the mind, heart or stomach for being a licensed gunseller anymore.

You can read about Nick Sottile's life and death with a google search. May he rest in peace in the arms of the Lord. jtc

Monday, March 10, 2008

time for the 12 hrs of sebring party...i mean race!


well, it's that time again...every march since the 1950's, sleepy little sebring, fl comes alive for a week..."race week".

now i'm sure at one time (but not in the 25 years i've been here) the real focus was on the latest, greatest, fastest cars in the world attempting to stay in one piece for 12 straight hours (originally it was 24 hours, ala lemans) as they blasted around the roughasacob multimile course that was once a wwll pilot training base...it was known too, as a place where adventurous celebrities could pretend to be race car drivers, and some of them were pretty good, notably steve mcqueen and paul newman.

but not anymore...sebring has for years now been known more for it's outofcontrol weeklong campout-barbecue-drunkenbum-showusyourtits party than for anything to do with auto racing. you really can't see much of the race from any one particular spot along the course, but those who arrive early enough (and i'm talking lining up their rv's and party buses weeks! before the gate opens) can stake out a spot at a particular turn or straightaway that allows at least some view...but the real action and attraction for most of these folks, many of whom come back year after year, is the "greenpark" area where rows of campers sit around all day drinkin', smokin', gettin' rowdy, and otherwise havin' fun.

or they drive around the access roads in a constant snailspace parade of pickups loaded with revelers or homemade party barges complete with graffiti, platforms, and uh...ladies more than happy to oblige titmen...now the sheriff's office does keep some measure of control in case of fights, too-blatant potsmoking, and so on, in order to maintain what is euphemistically called family-friendly atmosphere...but they don't want to be too strict because there's quite a bit of cash being spent, and hey, the cops (most of them anyway), are guys too.

so, if this sounds like a great week's vacation to you, come on down! but if you really care about watching the latest grand prix and prototype race cars go at it, then you're probably better off watching on espn...at one time great old nameplates like ferrari, jaguar, and porsche actually raced semi-stock versions of thier high-priced offerings, but these days the top classes are dominated by custom-built bazillion dollar factory sponsored cars and teams...the last several races have been won by audi and their diesel-fired laboratory on wheels...but there are still a lot of entrants in the lower classes running porsches, corvettes, vipers, and the like.

to me the best part of race week was always the off-track activity...the track itself, like i said, is the old military base that is now what passes for an airport in our little burg, and it's located about six miles outside town...my pawn shop was for fifteen years located at the intersection of the main road into town and the airport access road, so i had a great view of all the cool custom carhaulers, and lots of spectators who drive their own stock version of the ferraris, etc. who often gassed up at the texaco located in the same building as my shop...what the hell kind of job or profession do these guys have that they can cruise into town in their 200k toys to watch this race? yeah, i know, that ol' green monster that lurks inside all of us is showing it envious head.

but by far the best part for me, for all the 15 years my store was in that location, was the vintage racecar "technical inspection", whereby forty or fifty fifties and sixties versions of some of the coolest cars ever made in the world would, some worth upwards of a million bucks, and with full police lights and sirens escorts, blast down airport road (at a pretty good clip mind you) right past my shop and into the downtown area, then a few hours later blast back past and back out to the track...that was truly a spectacle to behold, and i'm glad i got to see it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

beautiful!

because i've been in fla for about 50 yrs. now, and generally prefer the beautiful mountains, cooler less humid weather, and much less crowded conditions surrounding our north ga place, it's easy for me to forget just why it is that so many people from so many places crowd into this state this time of year...

getting up this morning, letting out the dog and cat, and walking out onto the pool deck with a steaming mug of coffee in hand, i was greeted by beautiful, bright azure blue skies, slight breeze, and temps in the cool and pleasant fifties...wow, people pay big bucks for this and those mired in deep snow in the ohio valley right now must think it just a distant dream.

but it's real, and while it is true that sometimes familiarity breeds contempt, i am thankful to God for what i have, and to be here to see and enjoy his amazing work right now.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

real history...and i let it get away

wifey and i got back to sebring this past weekend, and on monday i stopped by the pawn shop to check up on clint and pick up my check (clint owns the shop now but i kept a minority share; he pays me weekly and the state license is still in my name).

so i'm there for a half hour or so offering what advice i can (price of gold has gone nuts and clint asked my opinion on what jewelry pieces to break stones out of to send the gold to the refiner; good grief, scrap 14k brings well over $16 per gram now, more than triple a few years ago)...and in walks an old fellow...now old guys-very old guys-are not scarce in sebring, especially this time of year...it's a winter mecca for mostly midwestern old folks...we call 'em q-tips...so it's easy to dismiss them without much thought; over the years when i was behind the counter i heard so many stories that started with "back in nineteen hunnerd and...that after a while my eyes glazed over.

but then after reading somewhere that about 2000 wwll vets leave us every day, i would ask guys that i thought likely to be vets if and when they served, shake their hand and thank them for saving the world (my dad's been gone 15 years now; how i wish i'd talked to him more).

clint asked this old fellow what he needed, and the old guy said "well, you don't have it, but i'm looking for an inland carbine made by g.m." now, i had dropped my ffl a year or so before i sold out but clint is ex-army (new generation) so he went into firearms in a pretty big way...he has a wall full of ebr's an a case full of springfield s/a handguns...but also a pretty good collection of neat old stuff standing in the bottom rack, quite a few are from the hundred or so pieces i left him with.

clint says "you know what, i might just have one"...he walks around the counter and picks up a .30, and it's exactly what the old guy asked for; general motors manufactured, and as original as any i've seen...the old boy was a bit shocked, he must have been asking around for quite a while for one (i doubt he's attuned to online access)...then i think he was shocked again when he flipped over the price tag (no doubt he remembered postwar $20 carbines). so he cuddled it for a while and then said he probably made the components himself...he was a machinist at g.m. during the peak of the war and said he made parts for thousands of those carbines...when asked, he said no, he hadn't served in the military, when he applied and told the induction agent what he did for a living, he was told he was doing too valuable of a job to be signed on as a grunt.

so i told him, yes the hell he had served his country in the war, and shook his hand and thanked him...he didn't buy the gun, probably couldn't afford it, but said he'd think about it and left the store.

now, why the hell didn't i get his name, the actual location of his plant, and the years he worked there? when did he stop building those carbine parts and what had he done since then? it's easy to get jaded with old folks when you're in your fifties and you're still the young'uns when you take your wife out to dinner, surrouned by eighty and even ninety-somethings...but this old fellow was American history personified; i wish i had gotten more details, but i am truly grateful to him, to all the other cogs in the wheels that saved the world without any real thanks or recognition, and i'm glad that i met him and thanked him myself.

update: talked to clint the following week, and the old boy came back and bought the carbine! i was very happy to hear this and that clint knocked the price down to $500even though this gun was nice enough to bring 600-650 online or at a show...there is justice in the world!

an odd saturday...

well, my little blonde wifey (how is she still so pretty and blonde; we're the same age and i'm a grizzled and gray fatass) has gone for the weekend over to tampa (new port richey really) to visit our middle child lesli and her two beautiful children.

fran is extremely close to lesli, grace, and evan; the bond between her and six year old grace is truly spiritual...that little girl is still in kindergarten but can read, spell, reason, and converse on a level beyond a lot of adults i know.

anyway, we spent the last month at our north georgia mountain place where our son eric, our youngest at 23, has lived for 3 years now...we had been going there in the summers for years to escape hot sticky fla, and he and his fiance liked it so much they bought a little business there...so when i sold controlling interest in the pawn store a few years ago, we bought a place there too. now a month is probably the longest fran has been apart from those grandbabies and she and they were both counting down the days till we were back in sebring so she could make the 2 hour trip over there for a couple of days.

and that's why it feels weird for me today; for 36 years now, since we were both 17, she's been there most every morning...the coffee brews automatically and when i get up i take out cups for us both and make our first cup, and that's what i did this morning, then i remembered she wasn't here...what the heck would i ever do if she were gone forever and i was still here? really i think i'd have to go Home...

so, what to do this saturday? the weather's funky, a big storm band passed through last night and what was a humid 83 degree march day yesterday has segued into cool and very gusty today...i could do some yard work, pressure clean the pool deck, hang a shade that wifey wants in the kitchen...but right now i think i'll just have another cup of coffee and miss my girl...

Friday, March 7, 2008

oh look, another blog!

i always liked to write, never thought i'd be a blogger, though...searching for pawn on other blogs led me to xavierthoughts and his pawn circuit posts, liked that, his mentions led me to tam and her porch views, she to roberta-x, breda, kevin at the smallest minority, and so on...

so i responded to posts when i felt the urge, and noticed that my responses often led down a road to memories and experiences that seemed new to me again...and were often longer than the posts i was responding to.

you've probably noticed by now that i have a weird writing style sans caps, don't really know where that came from, it's just a thing...i do take pride in spelling and punctuation, and try to use that to replace the capitals, which i reserve for mentions of God and America...

anyway, i doubt anyone will end up reading this stuff, we'll see...at least it's an exercise in unburdening for me.