Humility aside for a moment, I'm pretty proud of how my sons rifle turned out. I worked hard, and put a lot into it. All through he process of planning, and building I had lots of thoughts going through my head, memories of my own past involving firearms as well as desires and hope for my sons future.
Brigid posted a piece about her first firearm which I guess kind of made all those thoughts of mine come together......sort of. And in the mix of thoughts and memories was a post by JPG from a while back that dealt with naming firearms and assigning them abilities apart from their owners. I understand what he meant in his post. However, I'm going to stop just short of agreeing with him and instead take a different view.
Other than a single shot .22 rifle that was bought with the express purpose of learning to shoot, my son had never had a 'real' gun. He owns more than a couple of BB guns, some air soft rifles and even a fairly powerful pellet rifle. He and I both know, as do most of you folks, that while those guns aren't "real" in the sense of being a true firearm, they are in fact still dangerous and must be treated correctly. I make no apologies that we try to act as if they are in fact "real" firearms and must be treated as such. More than once I have seen him do something he should have known better than do, and have taken away the BB gun for a time. Even with all that, we cannot pretend that those guns are the same as a "real" gun.
And now I have built and given him a "real" gun. His first. We are both aware of the trust implied with such a gift. He has taken a step into a world of incredible power, and awesome responsibility. He is not ready to travel that world alone, but he is ready to begin his journey. He is ready to walk with a guide and follow in foot steps while learning to make his own way.
That first rifle is more than just a rifle. It is a badge of honor. It is proof that he has been found worthy of trust. It is a yardstick that he will measure his life by. And yet is is still more than that.
That rifle has part of me in it. I can honestly say that I have blood and sweat in it. It's design was built with memories of my past, and dreams for his future. It's finish looks ordinary, but it has an ingredient in it that you can't see; love. And it was given to him wrapped in trust, and tied with pride.
While that rifle will never have a soul of it's own, it will always have a part of mine. He will find one day, that the rifle is in fact a time machine. Years from now he will pick it up, and just the touch of it will take him to places from long ago; A deer stand overlooking a field of wheat, a tower blind on an East Texas pipeline. Smells long forgotten will somehow be remembered with that touch. Visions of wild animals will be seen, and he will hear his father again telling him "Good job!".
Some firearms are just guns. Some are very special. If truth be told, I'm not sure which one of us values that gift more.