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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

The meaning behind a hunter's guns

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A letter from Papa (Robert W. Miller), Feb. 2, 1992:

To my son, son-in-law and grandsons,

These fine old guns of mine are now being turned over to you for safekeeping. In so doing, I wish I could convey to you, for your enjoyment, the memories that attach to these faithful old friends of mine which date back to my first .22 cal. at age 11.

It has been my eye alone, through more than 50 years, that has glanced along the barrels, now bright and shining from much use. It was my finger that pressed the triggers and they have all responded very well when called upon.

I wish I could lend you the memories of the silent nights camping beneath the stars, of the frosty mornings in the duck marshes and on the old deer stands -- of the countless sunrises and sunsets I've marveled over, thinking each better than the last, but never quite sure. The aroma of steaming coffee and wild game cooking over the fire at various hunting camps in Canada, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas and Wisconsin. The companionship of really good friends, some of whom have since been called home to hunt no more.

To accompany these guns you should also have my memories of two favorite dogs, Rowdy and Festus, my first and probably last. Over their backs I have poured a large number of various size shot while hunting partridge, pheasant, ducks and geese. A man could look the world over and never find a more true friend and hunting partner than a black labrador retriever.

A gun is not a plaything, and they should only be pointed at something you intend to shoot. If safety is your first consideration for all concerned, your hunt will always be a success whether or not you fire a shot.

I have never used these guns as an excuse to get out to play poker or booze. Rather, they have led me out to enjoy nature's vast storehouse of secrets and through these to enjoy and see what God has given us.

I commend these guns to you in that same spirit, not the desire alone to kill, that is the most unimportant part of all, but rather to let it be the beckoning figure leading you into communion with the great and wholesome out-of-doors.

There has been nothing better for me for pure relaxation, and I have loved every minute of it.

As a family, I have enjoyed all of our hunts very much. They have all been special. I hope that I have imparted to each of you a small part of my love of hunting, my knowledge and whatever skills I have been blessed with along these lines.

Your dad, father-in-law and Papa

Marilyn Miller
The Old Grey Mare