Mr. Jenkins

10

Like most of us, Mr. Jenkins is a gun shop rat. You can find him loitering at his local gun shop, drinking coffee — about every other day, sometimes more. He’s 81 years old, been retired for 11 years, and widowed for the past six.

The Good Ol’ Days

While he was working, he’d hit Pacific Arms just about every Friday. It was a great way to end the workweek and see if any new guns came out, check the used rack, or just relax and hang out with like-minded people. It felt good to laugh, joke and catch-up in such a friendly atmosphere.

Hunters, bulls-eye shooters, plinkers, collectors, it didn’t matter; they all loved guns! Working hard made them play just as hard on their time off. They all joked about hiding guns from their wives. They’d always jest, “At least we aren’t wasting our money at some bar! We can always resell the guns if we have to.”

The bantering never stopped as they harassed each other while enjoying each other’s company. We all need a place where we can take refuge, a place everyone knows our name, and gun shops like Pacific Arms were like that.

Some History

Mr. Jenkins worked for Naval Surface Weapons of all places. He was a bonafide rocket scientist who enjoyed shooting bullseye matches with his custom Clarke Custom Colt 1911. For 45 years he worked on rocket propulsion fuel-valves while raising four daughters. Now they were all grown, married and with children of their own.

Retirement was good! Sleeping in till 7:30, piddling around the house, dinners with his wife, shooting and of course going to the gun shop. He now went shooting 2-3 times a week, followed by catching-up and hanging out at Pacific Arms afterward.

Tragedy Strikes

For five years life was about perfect. That is, until Mildred got sick and suddenly died. Mr. Jenkins was crushed! His life’s love and partner was gone and he had no idea as to how lonely or depressed he would become.

Mr. Jenkins hadn’t visited Pacific Arms for months. Some thought he might have died. Mr. Jenkins was lonely and felt empty. One day he found the strength to go through Mildred’s things and discovered a receipt from Pacific Arms for a 1970’s vintage Colt Gold Cup National Match. Before Mildred got sick, he was talking about building one last custom, from Tussey Custom, and this was to be the project gun.

think tank gun

Sneaky Pete’s

Mildred snuck out to Pacific and had the owner, Steve Shultze order the gun for him for their 50th anniversary. Mr. Jenkins’ eyes teared up as he held the receipt in his hand, figuring out what she had done. He bought her a diamond necklace, but never had the chance to give it to her, on account of her illness.

Mr. Jenkins knew he was going to find the strength and go to Pacific Arms tomorrow to pick up the gun Mildred hid from him. He chuckled sadly to himself of the irony, her hiding a gun from him. Oh, how he missed his Mildred.

Once again…

The little bell rang just as it always did when anyone opened the door at Pacific Arms. Mr. Jenkins steps were hesitant, but his confidence and a sense of warmth grew, the further he walked into the familiar shop. The familiar sights, sounds and smells made him feel comfortable and welcome.

Steve Shultze was the first to greet Mr. Jenkins with a boisterous, “Well look what the cat drug in … come on in Mr. Jenkins! We’re glad to see you! We were getting worried.”

Family Reunion

That’s all it took! Mr. Jenkins was on the verge of tears hearing someone acknowledge his lonely existence. Dave, Joe and Charlie, all longtime employees at Pacific, also greeted Mr. Jenkins warmly, for they, in fact, truly cared and missed his visits.

Choked-up, he handed the receipt for the Colt to Steve Scultze.

Dust? Allergies?

Handing the hefty box to Mr. Jenkins, Steve knew how special this present was and said so. That’s all it took, the damn burst, and Mr. Jenkins eyes betrayed him, as he told the boys in the shop the entire story of Mildred getting sick and quickly dying. It was also when a deeper bond was established between a lonely old man and a buncha’ tough, grizzled gun shop gurus with soft hearts. There wasn’t a dry eye in the shop.

think tank coffee cup

New Brew

And so it began — again. Mr. Jenkins started coming to Pacific Arms more and more. As time went on, he would bring coffee. He eventually bought a fancy 24-cup coffee machine for the shop and kept it stocked with coffee, cream, sugar and Styrofoam cups.

Customers took advantage and appreciated the camaraderie and warm atmosphere as they told stories, swapped lies and hung out by the coffee pot. Hell, someone even bought a gun, or traded up or purchased some kind of gizmo, gadget or widget sometimes.

Pacific Arms became Mr. Jenkins adopted family. It gave him a purpose, a place to go and a place to socialize. Customers appreciated the cheery old man who always offered them a nice hot cup of coffee, along with old-fashioned conversation. I’ll bet you know a place like Pacific Arms.

Or perhaps you’d like too?

I know I do.

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