November 24, 2009
Bourjaily: Three Generations of Shotguns
By Phil Bourjaily
This is Rick Frees, of Riverside, Iowa (self-proclaimed future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk) hunting pheasants with his sons Brian (l) and Drew (r) and their springer spaniel, Clem. The occasion is Rick’s annual celebration of his late father’s birthday, which he marks by getting his dad’s old Winchester 1400 out of the cabinet and taking it pheasant hunting.
While it’s always great to see fathers and sons in the field together, what makes this picture “Gun Nut” worthy is that the hunters are armed with three generations of Frees family shotguns to commemorate the day. Brian, left, has the 16 gauge Model 1400 Leonard “Jeep” Frees bought at the Oxford, Iowa hardware store in the 1960s. Rick has his own 20 gauge 11-87*, while Drew holds the 1913 vintage 20 gauge Model 12 that belonged to his step-great- grandfather, Ted Specht.
Hunters being both a traditional and sentimental group, I bet Rick isn’t the only one of us who takes out an old gun to mark a special anniversary in the fall. Some of you probably do, too, and this is your chance to tell us about it.
*I should mention here that before Rick bought that gun, I could usually beat him at Sporting Clays. Now, not so much. Every rare once in a while a new gun really does make a difference.