Editor's Note: Although this story originally ran in the July 2005 print issue of NRA InSights, it begins a few years earlier...in October 2001. Read on to see how one purchase can change a whole life. Jeremy, if you're out there, we'd love to hear how you're doing!
I’m sure there are lots of happier moments in my life besides the one I am about to talk about. I know I can name a few more Tally adventures. But, I will tell you of one story that changed my life.
It was mid-October, 2001, and Dale’s Fish’n Fun was having its yearly sale. An anxious boy counted his money. There was some in a jar, some on the “you owe me board,” and some in the bank. Just enough. He had been dreaming about this moment. This was the first thing over 20 bucks he had bought on his own. He took one more look on the Internet to find the right one. “Dad, Mom, can we go to Dale’s now, please?” he asked. So finally they headed out to the one place he had wanted so badly to go to for weeks.
When they got there, he sat quietly in the back, and waited his turn in the busy store. Finally Bob Woolsey said, “What will it be for you?” The boy unfolded the paper that was now almost wrinkled beyond recognition. There on the paper was a model 110GLXP3 Savage in left-hand. “Good choice,” Bob said, as he looked it over. “What caliber would you like it in?”
The boy stopped; he hadn’t thought of everything. “Um, well, Dad, um, I guess in the .243 caliber. No. Yeah, .243,” the boy said.
Bob replied, “Well what caliber would you like it in if I can’t find that one? Maybe a .25-06 Remington would do?”
“Yeah, that will do,” said the boy, looking relieved.
A few days passed, and he waited by the phone for that call. And, did he get that call? No, his mom did. Dale’s found one in the .25-06 caliber. It was a pretty hard find as he later learned. Savage only makes one thousand of the same rifles before producing the next model. The boy gave the OK to get the rifle, and he went back to the waiting game. Time stands still when waiting. Minutes seemed like days. Soon those minutes added up to days and that call came in. “We got it. Come pick up when you are ready,” said Bob. The boy rounded up Dad and told him they had to go there, they rode up to the peach building, walked into the building casually, and waited for the box.
Now a box is just a box to some people, but this one looked like it was made of gold. Bob opened that box like it was a treasure chest. There it was, the blued steel attached to the walnut stock with a 3x9x32 mm Simmons scope on the top. It was perfect. Eyes gleaming, the boy said, “I love it.” Dad reached for the checkbook since the boy was not old enough to buy it on his own. Dad wrote the check for the gun and some ammo, another thing the boy forgot to consider. He got back into the pickup, holding the box like it was a safe with grandma’s jewels in it. They got home; he took it out of the box, which he still has today, and almost cried. “Now you better go and clean it up just like I showed you, son,” his dad said.
That was almost three years ago. If you didn’t figure it out, that boy was me. I still have the rifle. A new Bushnell 5x15x40 mm scope, a Versa-Pod bipod, and a new sling have been added to the .25-06. I really credit that gun for giving me what I have today. Back then I didn’t have many friends. I wasn’t good at much besides schoolwork. When I bought that rifle, it sparked something in me to want to know more about guns. Today, my knowledge has increased greatly. I am a member of www.gunandgame.com where I talk to people just like me on different subjects. I have even thought of becoming a gunsmith when I grow up. That rifle has taken me far. It put me where I need to be. Some say I should sell it, and I just laugh. I can’t sell something with that much history, that much inspiration. I know I owe a lot to that rifle.
So when that day comes, when someone will argue that guns should be illegal, I will be there to fight. And fight I will, for my right, my love, my passion, and that one rifle that changed my life.