Fathers, sons and guns
By Ken M. Blomberg
When I was 15 years old, my father took me to buy my first gun at Casanova’s – Milwaukee’s largest gun shop. The year was 1969, and it was time for his son to own his first shotgun. At the time, the only gun in our home was a German pistol that father seized from an enemy officer he captured during the second world war. Dad was not a hunter. Said he had his fill of killing during the war. But his son, with a hunter safety certificate in his wallet, was determined to take up hunting like his friends.
Up and down aisle after aisle of guns we searched. Dad said he’d pay for a gun, but since he was buying, he’d have the last word on type and price. He lingered at the single shot shotguns. I drooled over the pump and automatic shotguns. I liked the larger 12-gauge automatics. He preferred the smaller 20-gauges single shots. He compromised and handed me a 12-gauge single shot. “Here son, this one will serve you just fine.”
Once in my hands, all thoughts of the other, more elaborate and expensive guns disappeared. My first gun. It was a beauty. Full choke, long barrel, fine looking stock and just a bit of engraving on the receiver. I put it up to my shoulder, looked down the barrel and swung it up towards the ceiling. Images of ducks, geese, partridge and pheasants filled my imaginary game bag. “Thanks Dad!” I exclaimed.
Dad found a seventy-five-cent plastic gun case on a nearby rack and headed for the checkout register. “Nice gun boy,” said the clerk. “It’s an import from Italy. These Nobel brand guns are well-made. And the price is right at $39.95. Take good care of it and it should last you a lifetime.”
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