As we drove off towards Dallas she trotted along Dave's gravel drive, only stopping to head over towards his mothers place in the end.
Once we got up towards big "D" we stopped in Duncanville so Dave could show one of his old guns to a friend of mine. Jim Donovan recently published a book about the Texas Revolution and the Alamo, and he'd asked if Dave could show him a real "Brown Bess" musket.
This one was an "India Pattern" from around 1805. The Mexican forces in Texas used their own version of the Brown Bess that was very similar to this one. I've told Jim that he needs to come down to Gatesville some time, join us in one of our shooting outings and check out Dave's full collection. It'll blow his mind.
When we got to the show I left Dave off to head into the show, parked under the parking garage and went off to give blood. The Carter blood folks always have a bus out in front of the hall and I usually try to donate when I can.
Apparently my blood, which is O+ , lacks a contaminant that many people carry, making my blood very good for prematurely hatched squealers and HIV patients. So, I donate a lot. makes me feel good, like when I vote. My civic duty, I suppose. Anyway, I got into the gun show free (they charge $10 to get into this one nowadays!) with a new T-shirt and a bandage on my arm.
It was a good show. I saw a few people I knew, including Randy Kline, the gunsmith who built several of my coolest Kalashnikovs. I also ran into a real hero.
Last time I came to this show I bought an autobiography from an old gentleman named R.V. Burgin. His book, Islands of the Damned, is the story of Mr. Burgin's youth in the United States Marines and his experiences in the Pacific War, particularly the savage fighting on the island of Peleliu. His story was used and he was portrayed in the recent HBO series The Pacific.
I shook Mr. Burgin's hand again and told him that I'd enjoyed his book tremendously and was honored to see him again. Considering his age, it was a surprise and a great pleasure to see him still up and around, still going strong. God bless him.
Yea, I know. I should sharpen my own gear. I can, and do on occasion. But it's just too handy to have this guy give a few of my blades a professional edge for a few bucks.
After the time spent at the sharpener, I decided to go have another look at something I'd seen earlier on the other side of the hall. A couple of well dressed old gentlemen were sitting at a table with several interesting implements, including a nice replica of a Viking sword.
The sword was cool enough, but the item sitting on the top of the pile grabbed my imagination like nothing has in a while. I recognized it right off - a replica of a Frankish throwing axe from about 2000 years ago.
It's an elegant beast, with an easily recognizable head. I couldn't resist, and immediately decided to take it to the sharpenin' dude and see what he could do. You should have seen his eyes light up when I showed it to him. The picture above was taken as he went to work. He had to change the belts and shift things around a bit, and it helped him when I took the handle out of the head. Purdy, ain't it. No, I haven't tried to trow it yet. I'll tell you how it goes when I do.
Oh, and those knives above are the ones I had the dude sharpen. That little peanut is the blade I carry every day. The other is one that I carry on occasion, just for jollies. It's design was inspired by the Type 3 bayonets they use with modern Kalashnikovs. Here you go.
After the show, Jim Donovan joined Dave and I for a late lunch at Sal's Pizzaria, on Wycliff, just up from the gun show. The Strombolis at Sal's are to die for. Huge friggin' things, filled with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and meat sauce. Jim brought a box of books he had sitting aside for me, and Dave and I both bought copies of his Alamo book, and he signed them for us. It was a great time.
After that, it was a long drive back to Gatesville to drop Dave off, and then the drive back to Killeen. I got home in time to watch the Packers fiddle around and get hozed by the Seahawmks, refs, whatever. My little padna, in her green Clay Matthews jersey and yellow foam rubber cheese hat, was cussin' a blue streak. I think I learned most of the good cuss words I know growing up, listening to my mother cuss at the TV while we watched the Cowboys. "Get that son-of-a-bitch!" Denise has picked up that baton and run with it. Big time.
Anyway, it was a good, full day. Hope you enjoyed the report. Feels like old times. I'll have to try to do this more regularly. Cheers.