Lost

We impart a piece of ourselves on the things that we carry.

My father’s knife, my grandfather’s block plane, the gun that I have carried across a dozen states and hunted nearly every species of upland bird in America – these things do not define us, but they are significant exhibits that help explain us as people.

My gun was a light, quick handling Italian 20ga, made by I. Rizzini and imported by B.C. outdoors as a Verona. It came with a spare set of barrels in 28ga. More important than all that was that I shot it well. So much better than everything else, that in the years since I have rarely hunted with anything else.
Light parade, Jason, Boys, Matt, Thomas
My wife bought it for me on my 30th birthday. Completely unbeknownst to me, she ordered it, went to pick it up, didn’t like the one she got and sent it back for another one. The one that I ended up with was perfect for me and I loved it even more for its origin. There are few things in life like getting a truly special gift from the person you love most.
I’ll miss shooting that little gun and the confidence that I felt when I swung it on flushing birds. I regret that I never got to restock it, for once sanding, fitting and checkering a gun that would always be mine. More than that, I regret that I won’t have it to pass on to my sons and tell them about how their mom bought it for me.
It’s been a week since I drove off and left it behind in a nondescript parking spot near Arimo, Idaho. A week since I rushed back hours later in a panic, only to find it gone. It’s been a week since someone else picked up my gun, the one my wife gave me and that I held in trust for my kids.
It’s been a week since I filed the report with the sheriff, called every gun shop for a 100 miles. A week since I told my wife that I had squandered the effort that she put into that special gift all those years ago.
It’s been one day since, shooting another gun, I missed 12 shots in a row. And no, that is not a typo. 12.
I try tell myself that it was only a gun, but it was more than that.
Maybe someday, whoever picked it up will read this and the gun will find it’s way home. Maybe the serial number will come up somewhere or a gun shop will recognize it. Maybe I will have a chance to buy it back. Maybe a guilty conscious will deliver it to the sheriff, who will return it to me.
Or maybe the Verona with the faint crack in the wrist and the worn bluing on the action, the gun that I carried and left my mark on, will simply go somewhere else.
Somewhere out there, someone has a gun that I was holding in trust for my kids. It is part of a narrative that helps explain who I am and what a special person my wife is. It is an exhibit that means more than birds and miles and hunting. It has been imparted with my story and I want it back.

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21 thoughts on “Lost

  1. Phil Yearout

    I lost 2/3 of a beautiful Winston WT fly rod and a favorite reel by forgetting to zip one of those reel-on cases; I feel your pain. Fortunately it didn’t have the provenance of your gun; I hope it finds its way home.

  2. Wow reading this made me sick in the pit of my stomach. I was just lamenting to my wife last night how I’m gradually loosing the ability to use my old Parker 16 for hunting. It’s almost impossible to find non lead loads and each season Washington state includes more and more land in their restrictions. Every season it spends more time in the rack and the old 870 spends more time with me, but at least I can still take the 16 out and fondle it. Hope your favorite finds it’s way back to you soon!

  3. Thanks for your thoughts Jeff. Have you tried the Rio Bismuth loads in your Parker? I don’t shoot non-toxic except at ducks, so I haven’t tried it. I know you can order them from Able Ammo. It might be worth trying them in your situation.
    If you do get some, let me know how they work out.

  4. You still have your wife and kids. The rest is just stuff. I’ll still have the 1919 Winchester model 12 16ga. that my dad bought used when he came back from WW2 until I decided which kid to pass it on to. Good stuff, but just stuff.

  5. John nichols

    Make sure you fill out a police report where you lost it, somebody might turn it in or at the very lêastif they try to sell it it will be flagged, I pray you get it back soon

  6. A post that bruised my heart. It may not have been your grandfather’s gun, but I’m sure you intended that someday it would be your grandson’s. Hope the person who took it has a pang of conscience and turns it in to local sheriff’s office. Good luck.

  7. Wow. One of my worst fears. I have carried the same Ruger Red Label 20 for 30 years, this fall. It was a gift for my 13th birthday. Not the prettiest or lightest double, but it means the world to me. I literally drive away from each hunt, squeezing my gun case, just to make sure.

    Wish you the best.

  8. Jon

    Yesterday afternoon I found myself checking the gun case twice before heading for home. Here’s to the safe return of your shotgun.

  9. Ruth Wellington

    Hi 🙂 Just happened on to this story through one of the Gunn Dog groups/pages we happen to ‘share’. May I mention another aspect (or scenario), and of course there can be so so many?

    What if a young man on his way home from weeks on the road to support his young family happened upon your gun and tried his best in that moment to find the owner. What if his ‘means’ were such he didn’t HAVE a phone (not everyone does), no internet access, etc., and every drop of fuel to even attempt to find a Police station could put his trek home in jeopardy.

    He may also be frightened to go to the Police (or authority) to hand it in; then are many journeys of life THE SAME which may seem ridiculous to one person, tremendous to you, and terrifying to another.

    What if YOUR gun that you’ve used with SUCH joy and great memories served, and built upon, which can never be TAKEN away, is NOW in the ‘care’ of someone desperate to keep food in their bellies. Protein on the table (if they even have one). What IF your gun was now serving another, something we speak of in our lives as “charity”, and yet truly rarely see a completely charitable being.

    What if that very gun now weighs heavily on him; he feels it more than a blessing, it will SAVE them. YOU in your moment of “oops” have so gifted another, and that gun of yours continues its journey.

    No gun EVER produced has stayed with the owner forever (unless buried with).

    What if one day your mail arrives, and there in lies your beloved firearm, with a letter enclosed, images shared, and THEIR then ‘gift’ to you of knowing what a difference YOU made in their lives.

    Years (decades) ago I lost something belonging to my Grandmother, with quite profound material value; I knew in my heart it was gone the moment I recognized it wasn’t ‘with’ me; yet I searched as you, and too THIS very day think of it often when ‘double checking’ when leaving somewhere I can’t return by miles/time, et al. Even if a very monetarily wealthy person found it, the reality of the size of the world is that a loss to one will be an asset to another (especially those living in greed … yes?!).

    MOST of us ‘need’ during our lives; not an extra pair of tickets to the Superbowl, or more JetSkis for their cottage, or the new NEW iPhone …. I speaking of “NEED”. Whether that “need” is food, clothing, medical care while out hunting, help for family, being afraid when broken down on the side of a road, and on and on. Sometimes a hug is TRULY what one NEEDS.

    Yet as we all KNOW there are many Many MANY among us this very moment through NO ‘fault’ in pain, hungry, and desperate to just be safe. YOUR gun may have said a life, or more, and could very well one day arrive back to you with even MORE “Provenance” than one could tell tale …. To that, whichever may take its place now, just think of what IT may do, go, and produce during its time on you hunts 🙂

  10. Ruth,

    I hope so. If this is the case, they should take me up on my offer to buy it back. I’d give them a heck of a lot more for it than a pawn shop ever would and I’d be happy to do so. Honestly, it’s not a stolen gun, it’s a lost gun and it’s my fault. So should whoever has it decide they want to get it back to me, I’m sure we could come to some mutually beneficial agreement.
    The world is a small place filled with good people, so I haven’t lost hope.

  11. Eric

    I hope that should I ever come across something like a fine piece of equipment like your gun, that I would do so just before the owner drove off and not just after.

    I hate when I see a gun that some owner has defaced with an electric pencil but as I read your story I began to try think of a way to at least leave contact info without damaging the piece.

    Best of luck.

  12. Sadly, no. Thanks for asking though. I’m ok. Maybe it’ll come back someday, but I doubt it. I sold a couple of guns and bought another 20ga, fitted my 28ga barrels to in and used the lumber I had set aside to restock it. It’s not the gun I lost, but it’s about as close as I can get.

  13. Pingback: Shooting poorly – Mouthful of Feathers

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