I don’t know if it’s still the case, but when I went through junior high, boys took shop class and girls took home economics.
We didn’t have a choice, that’s just how it was. In shop class, each of us had to select and build a project that was a large part of our final grade. Some guys chose to build a hope chest; others designed amd built fancy chess boards, or cabinets for the home. I decided to build a gun case. It held 7 guns: 6 slots for traditional rifles or shotguns, and a seventh slot, made extra- wide for a side- by- side, double- barrel shotgun.
My gun case graced the bedroom I shared with my brother and had drawers underneath to store ammunition, gun cleaning stuff and related items. When I got married, my shop-project gun case became part of the furnishing of our new household. I guess it was as inevitable as rivers flowing to the sea, but somewhere along the line, something changed.
One year as a birthday gift, my wife bought me a fancy new glass- doored gun case and the old one got relegated to junk storage in the garage. Eventually, even the fancy glass gun case got replaced by a massive fire-proof gun safe that would still be intact after your house burned to the ground. Somewhere along the way my old shop project gun case faded away never to be seen again.
Of course, I rest easy at night knowing that my guns are safe from theft, flood, or fire. But I miss being able to enter my den and see my guns (and my wood-working skills) on display. It’s true that guns stored in a controlled environment are protected from rust, dust & cobwebs, but I miss the sight of polished woodwork and inlaid metal and the smell of gun oil.
Most gun cases were utilitarian and functional but they also became an art form and some were truly magnificent. About 20 years ago I attended a fundraiser at the house of a world traveling hunter. Old Bob surely invested more in his game room than I had in my entire house. Magnificent oak gun cases with lead glass doors and recessed ceiling lighting lined the entire north wall of the room. From the east, a mounted leopard was perched in a tree with a gazelle in his jaws and glared down at you, daring you to challenge him, while on the west wall a jackal waited for his chance to steal a meal from the leopard. Although Old Bob has gone on to that great safari in the sky, I wonder what became of his game room.
One day soon, my wife and I are planning to downsize and get a smaller home. One of the things to go is going to be the old glass- door gun case that sits at the top of the stair gathering dust while my guns are all securely locked away in their fireproof safe. I went on-line to the website of the company that manufactured my gun safe. There were numerous testimonials to their effectiveness. I recall the case of a fellow in Southern California whose gun safe was on the second floor of his home. The home caught fire and burned to a pile of ashes. Buried under the rubble was his gun safe that was charred black, but when he got the door open everything was just fine. In the safe there were not only guns but also legal documents and his wife’s jewelry all of which survived the 2,000 degree fire. Safes don’t have the beauty of the old gun cases, but unfortunately they are a much better way to protect your investments.
In 1965 a drive through the high school parking lot anywhere here in the Central Valley would turn up dozen of pickups equipped with gun racks mounted in the trucks back window. Frequently there was both a shotgun and a rifle ensconced in the gun rack.
During hunting season, many of us would hunt before class, and then hunt again immediately after class as well. . Heck, I even remember what a treat it was to go shooting with our high school speech teacher. Boy, could he shoot a shotgun! Now, a gun in a vehicle at a local high school would probably produce a response from the local SWAT team. I know that our guns are safer in their hunidity-controled gun vaults, and that we can’t have pickups equipped with guns in the high school parking lot anymore, but sometimes, I think that maybe we were safer than we are now. Those were simpler times. I miss my old gun case.
Until Next Week,