Fun with Guns


Rifles Galore

Funny that I should have just been having an involved discussion about guns—I was reminded that my grandfather had a gun collection, and that my sisters and I had been meaning to find them, clean them, and see if they were worth anything. So this morning I interrogated my dad about their whereabouts, and climbed up a ladder to the top of the garage to sort through mountain heaps of dust and old furniture, carpets, and linoleum until I discovered them all wrapped up in an old blanket, tucked away in the corner.
They must have been well-taken care of by my grandfather, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been collecting dust and moisture over the last 30 years in storage, but are still in fairly good condition. I felt like I inadvertently got a little closer to my grandfather, whom I had never really known except when I was a baby, as he passed away when I was two. I knew that he was a Southerner in spirit, and that he liked to grill and sail and eat fried chicken. Turns out he was also a sharpshooter, and had an appreciation for guns. I also found a bag of his old golf clubs up there, from back when the “woods” were really made out of wood.
This was this first time I’d handled “real” guns, other than for a pistol that had been discovered by my housekeeping crew last year underneath the pillow of a guest, who had just left it there when he vacated his room. That was certainly a weird circumstance. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to give the gun back to the guy or hold it and check its legality. That was the first time I realized the awful power and physical presence of guns. It didn’t help that the guest was kind of weird about it, and claimed that he just used it to go hunting in the woods (with a pistol?), and then started going off about his constitutional rights. I ended up giving it back to him.
Anyway, so it was with a strange mixed feeling of awe and fear that I dusted these rifles off and appraised them, 12 in all. I don’t like guns conceptually, nor most of the stereotypical people that think it’s their god-given right to wield them, but I have to admit that I find my grandfather’s rifles to be objects of beauty, finely crafted of quality wood and metal. They are obviously nice rifles, apparently from all over the world, as 2 of them have Japanese or Chinese characters on them, and one is made in Australia. I don’t know enough about guns to know what types they are, but they appear to be from the WWII-era. I’m going to do a little research and discover how much they are worth, and clean them up a bit, but I’m considering keeping a couple for myself for display. I don’t have much interest in shooting them, I just think that they are family keepsakes not only of a bygone past, but also interesting talismans of our day and age. We’ll see. I’m still ambivalent about keeping any kind of weaponry around the house (even if sans ammo), but I guess it would be the logical addition to my wooden nunchuks . . .

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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