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In the spirit of the Nationwide Pro 2A Day, I wanted to share one of the fondest memories from my childhood one Christmas when I was either 12 or 13. Like most kids I am sure I had asked for various gifts that year and went to sleep on Christmas Eve anxious for Christmas morning. That morning when I got up, there was a present under the tree that I never asked for or expected. Sitting under the tree was a Marlin .22-caliber lever-action rifle.
Living in Montana, I had grown up and been around firearms and when old enough had went hunting deer and elk every year with my dad and uncles. I had always used an extra rifle of my dad's when I went hunting. The Marlin was the first rifle that was mine.
I can't tell you how many rounds I had shot through that rifle over the next few years, but every weekend I was out either target practicing, shooting at cans, bottles or gophers. After I joined the military and left Montana, the rifle was passed down to my brother.
I'm sure that I had other good Christmases as a child after that, but even at 53 years old, that is the one gift I still remember.
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