Several things have made me think about age, and aging lately.
For one thing, I turned 40 over the holidays. It was kind of funny actually, to me at least. What made it funny is that I had forgotten it was going to be my birthday until 2 days before when my wife reminded me. See I've kind of lost track of my age over the last several years. In fact, when I was 27, my wife and I got into an argument over how old I was. Turns out I was wrong about my own age. That may sound strange or weird or unbelievable, but I assure you it happened. I'll tell you why it happened too; I stopped counting birthdays when I turned 25. I just didn't feel like they mattered anymore.
Why? Because to my way of thinking, I had accomplished all I needed to birthday wise. When I turned 16 I got a drivers license, when I turned 18 I got to vote and buy my own rifles and ammunition, when I turned 21 I could buy my own pistols and pistol ammo, and when I turned 25 my car insurance went down. After that, there just isn't much left that age makes a difference about, not to me at least.
The second and third things that got me thinking about age are closely related. One, my middle son turned 14 over the holidays, and two, his present was a shotgun. I posted earlier about the deer rifle I built for him. This shotgun was 'just an ordinary 12 ga. 870'.
His turning 14 was and is a milestone for him. He is truly one of the most level headed kids I know and that includes most older kids too. Oh, he still has his moments, but he has a common sense that is not common anymore. He is a good kid, and can be trusted with such responsibility as his own gun. Giving him such a gift was also saying to him 'we trust you', and he has shown he deserves that trust.
The gun itself also made me think of age. You see, it's an old gun. I found it on gunbroker, it's old style wood stock, only shooting 2 3/4" shells, and fixed choke barrel causing it to be passed over by many. Many guys I spoke to about buying a shotgun (in conversation, not for advice) talked about the latest, plastic stocks with screw in adjustable chokes and shooting 3 1/2 inch magnum shells. They couldn't understand why anyone would by an old gun.
Turns out, that old gun left the Remington Factory in 1956, just 5 years after the model was introduced. That was 1956, 39 years before my son (it's new owner) was born, and 53 years before it became his. Think about that a while.
The gun has a little honest wear, but not much. It looks like it was bought and used maybe a season or two and then put away. The fellow I bought it from said it was 'in his family' for years. It has never been refinished, and never abused. It does not sport the latest wood style, or the newest 'must have' accessories. He'll have to make due with a fixed "modified" choke. Just like millions other hunters have for many years. And, I'll say this about the wood; It may not be the latest style with pressed checkering, but it has a wonderful grain to it. It's nice looking wood, on a field grade gun.
So, what do a 40 year old man, a 14 year old boy (more accurately a young man) and a 53 year old shotgun have in common?
I like to think that they are all simply what they are; Reliable, just outside of the light of the latest fads or styles, but able to stand on their own merits. With all three, it's not about the label you hang on them, it's about the reputation they make for themselves.
It may not make everybody happy, but I think the three of us can live with that.