That Which We Can Hold

Just an old Colt .22 pistol. The bluing is worn, the grips almost smooth. Nothing special, at a gun show you’d walk right by. Except that this one was bought new by my grandfather around Christmastime 1934. It was the pistol he carried when he went walking in the fields. The holster and the gun are engraved with his name. It is the gun my mother remembers learning to shoot with. It is also the first handgun I ever shot, and it is the only one of my grandfather’s guns in my possession.

When I first got it, I took it apart and cleaned it and replaced all the springs. When I take a new shooter to the range, it is what I use for introductory instruction. When I am bringing a .22 pistol for a range day, it’s my first choice. I shoot okay, but one of my friends regularly schools me. He shot the Woodsman today. At 50 feet, standing, with a 3″ shoot-n-see target, this was the result. That’s some fine shooting. What a great little pistol.

It holds 8 rounds and a houseful of memories.

Very deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless?
–Thomas Mann

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