Gun Show

My mother was visiting this weekend. My youngest had a big marching band performance this weekend, and it was also the Homecoming Dance, so we thought that this might be a good weekend for my mom to see my daughter in all of her outfits. Mom really enjoyed it. There was just one problem…

My mother was driving me crazy.

I’m sure I’m not the only daughter to experience this. I do love my mom dearly, but I’d so much rather visit her at her house, or at a neutral location like a hotel on vacation. That way, nothing she dislikes is my fault. She’s 80 years old, and though she is still fairly independent, things start to fall apart when she’s not on her own home turf. She doesn’t know how to work my TV, she needs help working the shower knob, she can’t figure out the ice/water in the fridge door. And then there’s the usual “mother” things like “What are you doing?”… “Can you see there?”… Are you sure you have enough light?” (Yes Mom, it’s an iPad, it has its own light). “An iPad? What does that do?”…”Do you talk to people on there?”… “Did you know the basement door is open and the light is on?” (Yes Mom, I’m doing laundry down there and the drier is almost done). You’d think as a 50 year old woman, that I could handle these things on my own. I know that we all start to lose our filters as we age, but I have also already informed my own children that if I ever start sharing intimate details about my bowel habits and hemorrhoids, that they have permission to stop me and remind me about my own mother.

So, needless to say, I was looking for a little break this weekend. I had to miss my usual local IDPA Match because of the marching band performance on Saturday. I also had to miss a less local USPSA Match that I often go to on Sunday. Those shooting matches are my outlets. I get outside, get some sunshine (hopefully), get some fresh air, get to talk to people about non-hemorrhoidal topics, and I get to shoot stuff. But those two things were “out” on a weekend when I really needed the mental break. (Well, maybe “mental break” is a bad term to use – that makes it sound like I’m on a rooftop in a tutu yelling things about hemorrhoids) I really just needed a little “me” time.

Then, in the midst of all this appeared my salvation — a Facebook post from my local gun shop about a gun show this weekend. Perfect! We’ll go to brunch, then I’ll bring Mom back home so she can have a nap, and I’ll take an hour or two away and check out the gun show! Ta-da!

The first time I went to a gun show alone, I was completely intimidated. All I had heard about them was from the media. The media made it sound like a gun show was a cross between the Cantina on Mos Eisley (you know – the “wretched hive of scum and villainy”?), and the street corner guy in a trenchcoat.

The reality was a blessed relief. That first show was held in a National Guard Armory – hardly the dimly lit, smoky back room that I anticipated. No, this was more like a church social. It was brightly lit and smelled like hot dogs and pie. There were local people who knew each other, there was beef jerky and jewelry for sale, and fund-raiser raffles, there was even a restored WWII jeep on display by a vets organization… and there were guns. But nobody approached me in the parking lot looking to buy a Kalashnikov … or an RPG. There was nobody huddled in the corner making nefarious- looking deals. Everyone there was “on the up and up”. It appeared to me that every seller was a licensed dealer.

So, after that initial experience, it didn’t bother me in the least to mosey down to the gun show this weekend and get a little “me” time. I paid my $7 entrance fee, and even paid in all “ones”, because they were running low. I filled out my door prize ticket, dropped it in the barrel and went on in. There was a definite Sunday flea market flavor to some of the vendors. There was no Jeep this year, but there were still tables full of musty WWII (and other eras) memorabilia – unit patches, canteens, and the usual handful of captured “collectible” Nazi gear.  There was a handmade jewelry table, and even one with jewelry made out of spent brass.  But the unique item prize for the day I think went to the wind chimes made out of spent .50 cal brass.

I wandered around for awhile, perusing the antique/collectible guns and trying to educate myself a little. I even play a little game with myself sometimes – can I identify this or that gun just by shape, before I lean over and read the manufacturer badge – silly maybe, but it’s an intellectual challenge.

As I wandered around from table to table, I reached the tables of the gun shop that I often frequent. Before I even looked up from the pistol case, the owner recognized and greeted me. That was a little weird to realize that I was enough of a “regular” that he knew me on sight, but I guess it’s also a good thing to have an actual relationship with a shop owner – you both get to trust each other. (Boy, have I made progress from a few years ago when I timidly stepped into my first gun shop where that other guy tried to bamboozle me!)

So, I was asking him a few details about the M&P9c vs the Shield and we talked a little about the challenges of women carrying concealed, when I glanced across to his tables on the other aisle. I smiled and noted to him that he still had that Colt…

“Oh yeah” he said, “It’s still here, and I can make you a smokin’ deal, cuz I don’t want to have to pack it up and take it home.”

“Oh really? Hmmmmm” … I replied,  as my credit card started getting warm in my pocket.

Said Colt was an M4 done up in Magpul and a “Muddy Girl” paintjob. I had been watching it ever since it showed up on the shop’s Facebook photos back in the summer. At first, it was just a passing interest, because it was a Colt, and I liked the paint job; but I dismissed it with an “I don’t need another gun right now”, and “I already have a .223”. As the months drew on, I noticed that it was still on the shop wall every time I went in. I mentioned it to the owner in passing as I was completing another transaction a couple months ago, and we talked a little about trying to get my daughters interested in shooting.  But, I left the shop without it – hoping that someone else would just buy it already, so that it would release its temptress hold on me.

It was now a couple months later, and there lay the same gun – looking all bright and sassy on the gun show table. Never being one to pass up a “smokin’ deal” if I could help it, I wandered over to the other aisle to take a look at it. The shop owner smiled and taunted me, “You know you want to pick it up – and it matches your shirt, too”, he teased.

The gun did feel pretty good, and since I was in the process of tricking out my existing .223 to be more 3-Gun friendly, it might be advantageous (and fun) to have an open-sights gun to entice my daughters into trying rifle shooting. At least, that was my rationalization. I can rationalize ANYthing if I want something badly enough. I even rationalized that it was cheaper than buying myself another LeVian ring for Christmas! Which brings up one of the conundrums of being a female with disposable income who enjoys shooting:  Guns?…or Jewelry?;  Jewelry?… or Ammo? It’s a good thing that I don’t also collect designer handbags.

I wandered around the show floor for probably 20 more minutes, just trying to talk myself out of this purchase, but in the end I succumbed to my lust and rationalization … and he knocked off an additional hundred bucks.
As I was filling out my paperwork and we were waiting for the background check, we chatted a little about the weekend, and my children, and my mother visiting. Whereupon, one of the other guys chimed in with a smile, “Wait a sec… so your mother is visiting, and she’s driving you crazy … so you’re here buying a gun?”

 …. Umm yeah, I guess that doesn’t sound so good, does it? Ha!
But it was a solid purchase, my lust was slaked, it made me happy, and gave me a much improved outlook for the rest of Mom’s visit. That made it a Good Deal in more ways than one.