Colt .45

I have no sympathy for my fellow Boomers who cruise eBay in search of mementos of their past. “Leave it lie and move ahead”, is my motto. “Let the past be the passed.” But that was before my wonderful sister gave me the surprise gift of a toy Colt .45 that was my favorite childhood gun. It is magnificent. It is perfect. I am a hypocrite.

She said the gun was bought at an antique shop where she low-balled the proprietor with an offer $100 below the asking price. Cripes, $100 below the asking price?! How expensive could it have been? Well, I don’t really care because it now sits proudly on a bookshelf in my study. It is perfect and it is mine.

It is also like a worm whole in time when I pick it up and feel it in my hand. The gun fits comfortably against my palm now, but as a child that was not so. It is a replica of the old Colt 45 of which it was said, “God made man, but Sam Colt made them all equal.” It was made for man, not boy.

The gun was so large I faced a dilemma. If I tied the holster off above my knee, it propped the gun up too high in the holster and it could pop out as I ran around, pretending to be riding my pinto mustang. If I tied it below my knee, it fit better, but then my horse had to run with a limp.

I was an extraordinarily small child for my age, although I never seemed to be aware of it at the time. The gun was so big I had to use it more as a rifle than a pistol, but that did not diminish my love of it. It was the one Paladin carried in the TV show. At the beginning of each episode, he whipped it out and shot into the camera.

In my case, I had to sort of hoist it up one inch at a time and then prop it against something so I could aim and shoot. Truth be told, the gun led me into being more of a bushwhacker than a fast draw kind of desperado.

Still in all, that gun was my pride and joy as I slowly grew into it. By the time it fit, I was in high school and facing the complication of girls. I can clearly recall the difficult day I came to the realization that I had to decide between girls and playing cowboy in the canyons. Although the benefits weren’t immediate, I understood it was time to put the old Colt aside.

But it didn’t end there. I continued to have a recurring dream of being an adult walking down the street with my trusty Colt .45 strapped to my hip. Each dream descends into embarrassing situations with a constant theme of the gun not being appropriate for the situation.

Now, I have the old Colt back in my care and for the rest of my life it will be predominately displayed on a shelf in my study. No, I won’t be wearing it downtown, but I am looking for a holster for it.

For all my talk of leaving the past behind, it turns out my lovely wife had also been looking for the same gun for years. So, it is doubtful I was such a strong leaver of the past. There must have been an empty place in me that others could see clearer than I. Now, that place is filled with a toy gun setting on the shelf and the dreams of the gun have ceased.

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About the author

Scott Funk has specialized in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgages for over a decade. He is a recognized Aging in Place advocate in his home state of Vermont. His monthly newspaper column Aging in Place has run for 7 years in 24 papers around the state. Scott is brings a lighthearted approach to his talks on Boomers, retirement and aging on purpose.