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Flight of the Silver Pigeon

 
by Rick Chisholm -- guest contributor

    It was a fine, late summer’s day when the phone rang at my parents residence. I was staying with them at the time, as I worked to pay-off some student debt. On the phone was a gentleman from a gun store in a nearby city who wished to speak with me. After the oft-occurring  confusion caused by my father and I sharing first names, we got the correct Rick on the phone. The man quickly informed me that I had entered a contest and subsequently won. At the time I could not recall entering a contest, but the prospect of winning anything from a gun shop was rather thrilling. The voice on the phone rattled off quite a few details, which I immediately forgot. The call ended and I stood there with my father looking at me,

    “Well?” He said.

    “I won a gun.”

    “Really?” He seemed almost dubious. “What kind?”

    “The guy said Silver-something, Silver Pigeon maybe.” I advised.

    “Never heard of it.”

    “Me neither, I think he said it’s a Beretta.” I explained excitedly.

    My father frowned.

    My head was filled with images of Martin Riggs gunning down bad guys with a 92FS, in the blockbuster Lethal Weapon series, perhaps the Silver Pigeon was a special version of the iconic Beretta pistol. I had high hopes. My father, however was likely secretly praying that it was not a pistol.

    My Dad and I arranged a little trip to the city to collect my new gun. As soon as the salesman brought out the large box, my hopes of a free pistol were immediately dashed.  Dad seemed pleasantly surprised though. The salesman explained it was a 12 gauge over/under, yadda, yadda, yadda -- I think my lack of enthusiasm was evident, and he saw an opportunity to make me a deal. While Dad watched quietly from the sidelines, the salesman courted me with tantalizing samples of “equivalent” firearms he was willing to substitute for the Beretta. A parade of “cool” rifles and shotguns proceeded, with each came a subtle but disapproving look from my Dad. I begrudgingly conceded to his experience and wisdom and eventually left the store with the Beretta box under my arm and a scowl on my face.

    On the trip home, my Dad advised me that if I wished to sell the gun, I would do best to do so privately and to maximize my price I would have to leave it in the box and not shoot it.

    Not shoot it! I was floored, it was bad enough to leave the store without some kind of black semi-auto, paramilitary rifle, but to arrive home with nothing more than a box that I dare not open was too much to bear.

    In the end though, the decision was mine and I opened the box and stood in awe at the beauty it contained. The Silver Pigeon was a magnificent shotgun, gorgeous wood and intricate engraving, right then I understood that my Dad was again right. I assembled the Silver Pigeon and fondly caressed that gun for the next few hours, taking in every last detail. I carried it around like a new baby, in fact, the gun barely left my side for the next few days.

The Silver Pigeon III

     I am truly of the belief that a gun needs to be fired to be fully appreciated, and although I was not certain if I would keep the Silver Pigeon or not, I took it outside and fired a few rounds. I marveled at how good the gun felt in my hand and how naturally it came up to my shoulder, I imagined pheasants rising from tall, brown grass and being taken cleanly on the wing.

    A couple weeks later I disembarked on a journey, first crewing a yacht on a 2000 mile cruise, followed by a cross Canada trip which drained my resources. I called my Dad from the West Coast and asked him to sell my new shotgun, at the time the need to eat and pay for lodging superseded my need for having a fine shotgun in my collection.

    To this day, selling the Beretta is one of my biggest regrets, and to be honest, I regret selling practically all the guns I have offloaded over the years. Yet, that Beretta was exceptional, I think partially due to the fact that I acquired it during a time of upheaval in my life and partially because it represents a rare but special instance of camaraderie between my late father and me. Now that I am older with a family of my own, I realize just how right he was about a great many things, and how his subtle guidance was so important as I grew up. Someday I will replace the Beretta I let slip away, and I will share it with my son, and whether we journey to the field or the range, I know my Dad will be there with us, looking down with that wry grin that says,

    “I told you so.”

Rick Chisholm is an IT Security Officer and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter under the handle @rickchisholm

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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