If he wasn’t in the garage ‘tinkering’ on some car part, he was downstairs at his workbench.

I loved spending time with him here. Aside from being an amazing mechanic, Dad was a notable gunsmith. He literally would start from scratch... a block of wood for the stock and a metal pipe for the barrel. Every night he would carve, either with chisels or an old dental drill, shaping and forming masterpieces. He would ‘blue’ the steel himself. This required special tanks set up in the garage. I watched as he worked. It always amazed me the attention to detail and the constant - never stopping till the task was completed - effort!

I could never stay on task as he did. We had many a conversation about this. Of course, from a fathering point of view. I listened to him tell of my Grandfather, and how he would buy him models to build. Models of boat, cars and planes. Very intricate, detailed, and time consuming. He was not allowed to get a new model until the one he was working on was finished. It was a life lesson that imbedded in his core. I wish I had more of that trait. It is, to this day, a work in progress.

We spent hours together at the workbench. Some of my favorite memories were when we were reloading. Yes, he made his own ammunition as well. I - can say honestly - helped. We measured and weighed the gun powder, polished the casings, removed the old used primers replacing them with new. Then when all was ready, sealed the bullet in its readied ‘jacket.’ I was always nervous that a bullet would randomly go off... or that I would put something together incorrectly causing a massive explosion at the range or worse in the woods when no one was around to help.

But as I look back, there was no room for error.

So much of those experiences have impacted me to this day. Going ‘hunting’ with my father has given me some beautiful memories. Thankfully, I have never witnessed him actually killing anything. I am not so sure I would have faired well. I believe he knew that, and spared me that experience. Mostly I remember quiet walks through the woods. The beautiful surroundings... and our time together. I remember being the only girl on the school rifle team....