When I turned 12, my dad gave me my first gun. Remington 870 Express, 20 gauge. An American classic. The Sherman tank of shotguns. No pizazz, no frills, just simple, dependable, steady.
When my son turned 12 last week, my dad gave him his first gun. Remington 870 Express, 20 gauge. Still a classic. Sounds the same. Feels the same. Runs the same.
Amazing how the feel and smell and sound of a gun can make a grown man feel like he’s 12 again.
Hunting guns have a rich tradition in our nation as family heirlooms, tying generations together with forged steel, mahogany stalks, and good ol' American ingenuity. The American-made hunting gun has fed families, protected families, and preserved families for generations. It's no wonder it holds our fascination. Each one comes with a story. Tales. Memories.
And I imagine the little pup there in the middle will get the same gift when his decade and two come around.
So we headed out into the frozen wild today to see if The Boy could hit anything with it. He’s proven himself pretty deadly with fixed targets at long ranges. How would he fare with moving targets at close range? We were aiming to find out.
And of course, I bragged about how no one could touch my hand-thrown “smokin’ pigeon”, which is rumored to leave the thrower somewhere around the speed of light (yes, I give each of my throws names, you know you do it too).
And of course, The Boy promptly blasted it right out of the sky. On his first try. Like he was taking a leisurely afternoon stroll through the park. Seriously?
Nice try dad.
Well, at least we learned two things...that the 870 can still deliver, and that, apparently, The Boy will be deadly at short ranges too.
Gotta love American craftsmanship.
And good gifts from grandpa Mac.
And young men who show humility and class (with a wry smile) when they humiliate their dad’s pigeon-throwing prowess.
And cold Thanksgiving morning clay-pigeon shoots, with the mist low and the snow sputtering lightly all around.
Some days are hard. This wasn’t one of them.
Happy Thanksgiving, from the Mcpherson men.
ps...StrongerMan Pro-tip for Dads: my dad rarely gave us toys, but he did give my brother and me a lot of tools. And then he taught us how to use them. Which is all a part of responsible manhood. And gun ownership can be a wonderful way to teach that to all kids. Safety. Responsibility. An incredible opportunity for a young boy to step toward being a grown man. If you are not familiar with guns, get yourself trained. You have a friend or buddy who probably knows. Become familiar with different weapon systems. Become proficient in handling them, become radical about safety, and then teach them to your son. Or better yet, grab your son, take Hunter Safety or a firearm class, and learn together!