Smells are a funny thing that can bring back a flood of memories and with them the tumult of emotions they encapsulate. After a morning of organizational play, arranging things into their perceived spaces, hanging artwork and memorabilia, fitting boxes into drawers just so, I went into the bathroom and was transported…to my Grandpa’s house. Weird. All the emollients and sprays and modern conveniences vanished against a background smell straight from my childhood fifty years ago.
So I was reminded of my grandfather even more when I sorted through one last old coffee-can from his collection, more better called an accumulation, of gun-stuff. His large strength and poise, his rough work-hardened hands that even at age 98 were bigger than my own father’s. In the tin, itself the product of a much earlier era, were dusky lead balls and old .22LR rounds with the bullets gray-hazed. A small plastic box contained a quantity of larger caliber bullets with gas-checks, covered in a sooty lube. Some unfired old old 16-guage shotgun rounds and some other rounds for guns I don’t think he ever owned. A tiny round of W.R.A. 25-20 looking like a bitten-down pencil stub. A stubby gray-blue tarnished old Remington-Peters Savage 300 round, looking for all the world like an AK cartridge. A long and slender 270Win round that barely fits the stubby metal Folgers can, And a Peters 32 Winchester Special round with a dainty little “P” embossed directly on the PRIMER. Wow. It’s a can of treasures.