Out of an essential, I had to warm up the van and drive a mile to the country convenience store before sunrise this morning.
My usual carry pistol is a SW 59, a turn-in by a police department which could not tolerate the criminally slipshod quality. Diligent frobnistication has turned it into a fast, dependable, and accurate defense piece. It generally lives in the vehicle, as does a purely recreational Ruger RST4.
Yesterday morning I brought them inside for a routine inspection and wipedown. I neglected to put them back.
Years ago I spent a three-year career break in some misery, teaching in a high school. Among my burdens was a hard-luck kid of no motivation, a surly attitude, and an explosive rejection of my insistence that everyone, college prep or metal-shop loafer, should have at least a passing acquaintance with Shakespeare, Dickens, and the elements of civilized speech. His hatred of me apparently was profound.
I made my purchase and got into the van. As I started the engine a massively-bearded six-foot-something apparition emerged from behind a black Suburban with something in its right hand. It banged on my window. It occurred to me that, being unarmed, a speedy drive-off would best satisfy the requirements of prudence.
But this is a small community, my small community, and habits of friendliness die hard. I cracked the window three or four inches, just enough to communicate. Still, I shifted into gear and held the brake pedal down with the left foot, the right one poised over the accelerator.
Comes the voice:
"Hi Mr. _____________. I had this left over from the box and thought you might want it."
I accepted the rolled Sunday newspaper and said, "Thank you."
I can't imagine the synaptic processes that led to recognition of my old English-hating student.
"Hey, is that you _________ ?
"Yep. Just thought you might like the Sunday paper, Mr.____________. Merry Christmas."