On the same afternoon that I zipped my grandfather into a body bag – he was fortunate to die at home, in his own bed, and the last words he heard on this earth were my grandmother saying she loved him — I inherited one of his old rifles. It was a single shot .22 with a scope from the old regime – decent glass in its day – that he used to teach my father and uncles to shoot in their sprawling back yard in North Hollywood. Under the house he built a pistol range.
I was having coffee with Jim the other day down in Sisters town, at a fine greasy spoon called The Gallery, which up until a few weeks ago had a fine collection of old rifles hung up on the walls, and where a regular collection of regular guys gather most mornings at the counter to stare down the pies and get their daily dose of good cheer from the gals working the counter. The Gallery serves a heap of great diner food for not a lot of money, if you are into that sort of thing, and they still have a wooden indian in the entryway which is a throwback to an era not long ago where not every statue was automatically a symbol of racist domination.