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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BANG - You're out of luck

Let's imagine you have a father. Shouldn't be hard for most of you, as you all did by requirement of nature. You did not really know your father that well, as fathers in the 50s and 60s were a bit "stand-offish" in the fathering department. Group participation in a sport or sporting outdoor activity was the interaction of the day. Not being a hunter, fisherman, or golfer would limit your relationship development. This describes my relationship with my father/dad. Most of my memories of my dad are of him leaving for work, golfing, fishing trip, or whatever; or coming home from said journey. Other memories are of him drinking himself into a stupor every night he was home and wondering how he would make it up the stairs to get into bed. We never had a conversation to speak of, and neither of us really knew how to get one started with the other. My dad was an amazing wit and bon vivant with the rest of the town, but with me - not so much. I left my home town of Raeford, N.C. well before he gave up the bottle. So, my reflections and memories of him are vastly different than most of the other members of my family and his friends and acquaintances. Neither here nor there, just is. I was lucky enough to get to know my Dad a bit when he became ill late in his life. The ravages of a southern diet, Camel non-filter cigarettes, and enough alcohol and to preserve a herd of wildebeest finally took their toll. He was in a wheelchair for the last year or so of his life and I tried to be there for him when I could to do whatever. I built his first ramp to get him into the house when he got home from his amputation and recovery. I helped get him out to see the world for the first time in six months or so with a car ride or two. And, I would go down to cut his hair on occasion along with other simple little things that seemed to take the place of meaningful conversation. My family was not and is not one of any great means. My dad's will was a short and sweet document leaving his worldly possession to my mother (rightly so). He did give something personal, and of value to each of his four children. My one personal item was his Colt M1911 U.S. Army service pistol. As I stated above, I am not a sportsman. I am not a gun person per se. I have hunted, I have shot guns of most normal sizes and calibers. I did not own a gun at the time, but was very excited about the prospect of owning my father's service weapon. As my mother was going through a lot at the time and I had my own personal tribulations starting (see other blogs for that - my wife has health issues) I just told my mother to keep the pistol and I would get it later. Imagine my surprise when I found out later that the gun was gone! I am still not quite sure who, where, and what happened. Some unspecific statement about it being sold by someone. The only thing I was left by my father to me personally in his will was somehow disposed of to someone I don't know for some unknown reason. Now I am not one to beat a dead horse (although I have been know to give one a last shot to see if it has life), so I will let this go now. But I still cannot believe it. That weapon was and is a collectors item. It has a value of thousands. It has an attachment with my father that is invaluable. But, the horse is no longer breathing. I hope I am purged.

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