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A tragic story with a happy ending.
Unread 08-09-2022, 04:13 PM   #1
Rob White, not Bob White
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Default A tragic story with a happy ending.

Let's see, where to start. I guess I'll start at the beginning. It was sometime in 1918 when my grandfather married his then 18yo sweetie and gave her a wedding present of a 20ga Parker side by side (a man after my own heart)!

January, 1934, my father was born...third boy in line with a baby sister to follow. Whenever the boys were taken hunting with their father, "Pop" used his Fox Sterlingworth 12 ga side by side, and the boys would use their mother's Parker. (Aside, I now call the Parker 20 "Clara" because that was my grandmother's name, and it just suits).

I grew up with family slides of my father in March, 1954, where he shot two wild turkeys with one shot out of the Parker on a family friend's plantation in coastal SC. When I reached an age to know, I asked my father about the Parker. He told me that he had given it to his older brother, but I could write him and ask. When I wrote my uncle, he told me that he had given the Parker to another nephew, my first cousin. Later still, my cousin and I would correspond via email about our grandfather's Fox and our grandmother's Parker. He would suggest that I give him the Fox, and I would suggest that he give me the Parker, then we would decide to keep what we had, but maybe try to get together one day to shoot and share stories. Sadly that day never came.

Cousin was an attorney in the W. Palm Beach area of Florida, and I am a dialysis patient in Atlanta since 2005. I had a kidney transplant from my sister in 1991, but it crapped out in 2005. Organ transplantation is kind of near and dear to my heart, aside from dogs and guns. Anyway, several years ago now, word came that cousin had received a liver transplant. What? Surely he would have said something to me about this, but no. In fact, nothing was mentioned about it directly from cousin. However, I knew that if you get a liver, it's for one of two reasons; either you have liver cancer (in which case you probably wouldn't get a transplant), or you have an alcohol problem. With substance abuse running rampant in my family, as well as running rampant with attorneys, I could draw my own conclusions.

Fast forward another year or two forward: news came down that cousin had stepped out into his backyard one steamy night in July and taken his own life. The family was aghast, but I'm sure there were subtle signs all around for anyone who cared to put all of the pieces together. Cousin had a few guns, including the family heirloom Parker, so surely he committed this heinous act with a pistol or something easy. I had no idea. I now recall him once mentioning something about "the business end of a shotgun," which at the time seemed like something careless to say given my upbringing of strict gun safety. Now, in hindsight, it makes a little more sense. I'm certain there were other hints for those willing to see them and able to recognize them.

Figuring that I didn't have the gun yesterday, I don't have it today, and I probably won't have it tomorrow, I had nothing to lose so I wrote his widow a letter. They had two daughters; one just about to enter college, and one already in college. Both daughters leaned politically left and had pics of themselves with well-known politicians of that ilk (I won't go into any detail here but I wouldn't dare let my high school-aged daughter anywhere near one of them in the photograph). Figuring the family would be hard up for tuition after the loss of the sole bread-winning father, I tried to couch my letter in consoling terms, but with a request for my familial heirloom to be not only preserved, but returned to its original use in the outdoors, as my relatives would surely have wanted it. I offered to buy it for what I thought was a generous price best I could tell considering other market values of similar Parkers. Turns out I mailed the letter right around the funeral, and it was probably received the Monday just after the Saturday service. I got no response. I hadn't really meant to cut it that close, and I'm deeply sorry if it offended anyone.

Several months later, during an email conversation with cousin's older sibling, older sibling said "it's goulish to want the shotgun that his brother used to off himself." WHAT? Of all the guns cousin had to do this with, he used the PARKER??? Older brother went on, "but if you want to see about the gun, talk to my other brother who has it since he was the one called to deal with the family emergency."

Twinkle of light! I immediately contacted other older brother of cousin to ask about the Parker. He responded "I have two sons who have first refusal, but if they don't want it, it's yours since it is only a reminder of the worst night of my life. You can have it if you promise to keep it in the family!" Fair enough. Contact your sons and let me know.

After learning that the Parker was indeed the gun used, and figuring the present climate of gun control advocates in left political community, I feared that perhaps the family might destroy my family's heirloom in some public way, like cutting it in half on television, or throwing it in the marsh at a political rally or some imagination was running wild.

Fast forward six or eight months, I got a call from cousin's older brother that he was coming to North Georgia in the Spring for a family vacation, and he was bringing the gun for me to have! That day couldn't come fast enough. When it did come, I loaded up my pointing lab, Billy, (who is also my service dog) and we headed to the North Georgia Mountains. This was around June during the first year of Covid, so 2020.

When my cousin got the gun out of his car, he admonished me, it's in kinda rough shape since nothing has been done with it since that night. Turns out the Sheriff who responded to the scene knew something of the worth of Parker shotguns, so he tried to keep the gun. Cousin's older brother and Cousin's widow had to repeatedly request their property be returned, which it ultimately was. Fortunately, the family is full of lawyers, so getting it back probably wasn't going to be an issue.

Fast forward to today, I now have reunited my grandfather's Fox and my grandfather's Parker. I hunt with the Parker at every chance at the preserve where I guide hunts over my pointing lab Billy and my Wirehair, Big Spot!

Another close call came in 2020 right after I got the Parker back. My wife and I were training retrievers with our training group, and occasionally we would shoot fliers for our dogs. My wife had expressed an interest to learn to shoot fliers. I gave her a Remington 870 20 ga the first Christmas we were married
some 26 years ago now, and a year or two ago I gave her a cheaper Remington 870 to be used for a popper gun in hunt test training...something she wouldn't have to worry about cleaning or harming.

She didn't care much for either, and she never really tried to learn to master them. Last year, one of her buddies talked her into buying a new Benneli autoloader 12 ga, which she did without consulting me. I run my dogs at a quail preserve in North Georgia, and I have invited her to hunt with me on any given occasion. I tried to impress upon her that she could learn to shoot fliers with any shotgun, and when I found out about the Benneli, I was dumbfounded. She could have spent just as much money and gotten herself a really nice over/under or side by side upland gun for that money, but I digress. Turns out she far overpaid for the Benneli, but that's how she rolls.

Before the Benneli, I offered for her to shoot the Parker, and in fact for her to even have it, knowing that my grandparents would have been proud for their grandson's wife to have something that they started with so many years prior.

Wife shot the gun a time or two, then for whatever reason decided that she didn't care for it. OK, I'll shoot it myself. Suit yourself. Soon after I learned about the Benneli. I tried to coach her to learn to shoot that, but if you are a man, and you are married, you know how that went.

Fast forward to just before Thanksgiving, 2021. While I was at dialysis, wife emailed to tell me that she was filing for divorce. Later that night, I realized she had moved out of our house and taken almost all of the guns that I had given her with her. She didn't take the 12 ga popper gun, and she sure didn't take the Parker, but she did take the 20 ga pump, a S&W 9mm pistol I had given her early in our marriage, and two pocket pistols she bought for herself.

Thankfully, she didn't take a liking to Clara, so I still have my family heirlooms intact. Presently, it has been 9 mos since she moved out, 8 mos since she filed for divorce, and she appears resistant to come to the negotiating table. I know that eventually this divorce will happen, and when it does, she will be the loser. Most people leave their spouse because the spouse cheated, they drink, they gamble, they are abusive, some serious reason that anyone could understand. I'm not sure my wife even knows why she left me, but she did and that is that. I'm just a nice guy who used to work as an environmental consulting geolgist, loves dogs, and loves the outdoors. I thought my wif eand I would soon retire to enjoy the out of doors together, and we were just on the precipice of being able to do that (she's 53 and I'm 56), but she flushed that all down the toilet now. Anyway, that wasn't the point of this story.

The point of this story is that I am now qualified to be on this forum, to catch Parkeritis, and I thought this story might interest you. I will try to include some pics of Clara if I can figure out how to do it. In the meantime, here are the details best I can figure:

Serial #232656
Manufactured 1881
Frame Size 0
Weight of barrels 32
Grade OV
Initial Price $25.50
Barrel Type Trojan Steel barrels
Patented October 25, 1910

Estimated 33,005 produced

During 2020 and 2021, I was rejoicing on my family heirloom coming to me. Today I'm still trying to defend myself in this divorce, but I'm hopeful that this coming bird season, the divorce will be over, I can get the financial support I need to survive disabled and on dialysis, and I can rejoice again at being able to hunt my dogs, help others train their dogs, and hunt with my Parker, creating many more stories for posterity and happy times for me. Women? Who needs em!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1954-0301 Warren and David and two turkeys cropped.jpg (529.7 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg DSCF3940.jpg (496.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg DSCF3939.jpg (494.6 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg DSCF3934.jpg (545.9 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg DSCF3932.jpg (546.0 KB, 4 views)

Last edited by Rob White; 08-09-2022 at 04:18 PM.. Reason: I would like to add some photos.
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