In those days, .22LR hollowpoints were about a dollar, maybe less, for a box of 50 and when the opportunity arose to practice, I always had some ammunition. Still, every shot was made to count.

Dad swapped me for a single-action .22-caliber Hy Hunter sixgun a couple of years later to get his gun back. I became fairly skilled with that one, too. But when he passed away one month after turning 50, that revolver came back again. And it has stayed with me ever since for more than four decades.

There is something about Christmas, and that “thing” between fathers and sons that may defy explanation or pure definition. Dad needed to give me something of value on my holiday birthday and he had an empty wallet. I would have understood if there was no gift from him with my name on it.