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Time for a story.
November 24, 2013
7:56 pm
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a line of comments in one of the other threads got me to thinking about a story I wrote for Oregon Public Broadcastings Gun Stories page

About how my dad got his Winchester Model 1895 into the house.

The day started out with my dad and I going to the Albany gun show this was a summer day in 1968

I would have been 10. We walked in looked at a display of Lugers mounted by the magazine well. Continued around that row of tables and ended up in front of a table with only a couple rifles on it. Dad picked up a rifle and quickly looked it over talking to the man while I looked on and I fidgeted around. As I remember dad paid ($125.00) for the rifle and we soon after left the show. We met up with one of the guys dad worked with named Gary. The three of us went to a burger place and had lunch.

Gary was in an odd sort of way a big influence on me even if he never really knew it. He was the guy who had the reloading equipment dad used and who I was first introduced to something I would do my whole adult life. Reloading. He also helped me break my dads heart a little bit when one day my dad took me to watch Gary and his friends flying control-line model airplanes. While watching about the 3rd flight I turned to dad and asked him if he would by my HO scale train stuff from me so I could buy control-line planes. Dads hobby was HO scale trains and he lost his buddy in the hobby when I took up Control-line model airplanes.

Anyway I remember the topic at lunch came around to HOW was dad going to get the new rifle into the house. Dad said he had a plan. On the way home we stopped by dads apprentice Ernie Clay’s place in Salem. They talked for a while and I waited in the car.

Ernie was a big guy who could play any song he heard on the radio once on his guitars but couldn’t read music. He once saw me all interested in how he could light a match with one hand. And he leaned into me (I was sitting between him and my dad in a pickup) and with his huge sheet metal worker hand in a fist right in front of my face told me if he ever caught me smoking it would bust me right in the FACE. Then dad said he would do the other side. I never took up smoking I contribute it directly to FEAR of that big guys fist.

When we got home I was told not to say anything about the new rifle. Dad then told mom we were invited to Ernie and Donna’s place for dinner and to listen to the new Bill Cosby album. So long about 5pm we left for Ernie’s.

When we got there the Mom and Donna worked on dinner (something like Hot dogs and burgers) The parents ate at the table while all us kids (there were us 3 boys and Ernie and Donna’s 3 girls plus my new born little sister) ate a smaller table maybe a card table.

After dinner we all went into listen to the new album. As soon as the album started Ernie says to Dad, Hey Dave you want to see the new rifle I got today? He then went to a small cabinet in the Kitchen and pulls out the Model 1895 Dads had just bought!!! Dad looked at me when I started to get up off the floor with a look that told me to stay put and stay quiet.

Well as soon as Donna caught wind of this “new” rifle she went off screaming and yelling about how they didn’t have money for no stupid gun. Well this went on for a few min. Mom who was busy with my little sister was being quiet she had no dog in the fight. Ernie and Donna were famous for their fights we all thought it was a hobby since every time we were all together they would have one.

As things got louder and louder I hear Ernie scream at Donna, FINE I’ll get rid of it! And he turns to dad and says, Dave give me the $20.00 I paid for this and you can have it….Now I guess Donna knew nothing of guns so she must have had no idea of it’s value. MOM who was married to a guy who was a bit of a Winchester collector and who was very interested in antiques and such knew any Winchester had to be worth WAY more then $20.00 so she keeps quiet. Dad hands Ernie a $20.00 bill and Donna tops yelling. Mom is quiet cause she figures Dad just made a hell of a deal on a rifle.

We finished up listening to Bill Cosby talk about Rubber Baby Buggy tires and such and headed home. The next the next day dad took me shooting I got a whole box of .22 shells to shoot in his Model 55 Winchester Semi auto single shot (look it up) And the story comes to an end.

Well many years later I learned that that Monday at lunch Ernie returned dads 20.

I kept my mouth shut and in 2003 as my dad was dying from Methotelioma (an asbestos caused cancer) I was paid back for that silence all those year back. When out of Dads rifles I got that beautiful Winchester Model 1895 in 30-40 Krag with the Lyman receiver sight and the deluxe burl walnut stock and the 28” barrel made in 1905. Easily the cherry in Dads little collection.

And thats how the 1895 got into the house.

—Mark Wahlster

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November 24, 2013
8:14 pm
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Great story Mark! And a fine looking 95!

November 24, 2013
8:30 pm
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Mark,

A great story of learning lessons and being influenced as a child. It is great that you were there to live the entire experience of the history of the rifle and it's place in your family.

Michael

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Model 1892 / Model 61 Collector, Research, Valuation

November 24, 2013
9:13 pm
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Mark,
What an enjoyable read that was. Sounds like you deserved to have the rifle and I'd be willing to bet your father is looking down with a big smile knowing it means so much to you. Thanks for sharing and reminding us of our dads, of whom many of us do not have anymore.

~Gary~

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November 24, 2013
10:51 pm
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Mark,

I enjoyed your tale. You should write for firearm publications. I was enthralled to the end.

November 25, 2013
7:23 am
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LOL My very disappointed creative writing professor in college would get a good laugh out of that idea. I'm what you would call an Oral story teller. I just got lucky in that this story has been told many times.

This story is on the front page of http://gunstories.tumblr.com/ Part of Oregon Public Broadcasting. Last year sometime they started this Blog of sorts and I thought it would be a good way to get Dads story out there. Its stayed on their front page ever since.

November 25, 2013
10:02 am
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That was a good story Mark / I had to email it to my shooting buddies

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November 25, 2013
10:26 am
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Thanks for sharing the wonderful story Mark. It's great that your dad shared his hobbies and was successful in passing those interests onto the future generations. My dad turns 80 in June and we still never miss a local gun show or hunting season. It bothers me a lot to think that someday I won't have him around anymore. I definitely cherish the time I have left with him.

November 25, 2013
3:55 pm
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Great story and a beautiful gun too.

Brad

Regards

Brad Dunbar

http://1895book.com/

December 2, 2013
10:21 am
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Mark,
What a great story!
An 1895 and model airplanes too.
Sounds like you had a wonderful upbringing.
Don
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