Sunday, February 05, 2012

Broken / Fixed

imageAll kinds of things get broken – toys, clocks, appliances, windows, cars, trees, hearts…..people. Some of my earliest memories are being interested in what makes ‘things’ tick – literally – I took an old clock that belonged to my grandma apart. I was six and…I only knew about the taking apart, not the putting it back together. Thank goodness the clock was a goner before I got a hold of it.

Since then I’ve had a life-long interest in fixing, building, repairing or improving everything. From home-made skateboards (before there were such things) and tree-houses to “Whizzer” bikes, Model “A” Fords, rental houses, cars and cabins, I built, fixed and restored more than I can count. I’ve plumbed, sawed, nailed, wired, glued and in the process gathered a fairly impressive, albeit amateurish set of tools, some of which I inherited from my grandpa Mortensen.

I decided to write this ‘Watts Happenin’ update in well over a year for two reasons.

First is about a shotgun.

I inherited an Ithaca Model 37 U.S. Army issue 12 gauge pump shotgun. My dad first let me shoot this gun in the backyard of Colin Peterson’s farm in Tremonton. He said, “hold it tight against your shoulder.” That didn’t help a bit. It knocked me right on my back. After lots of black and blue shoulders from hunting pheasant, quail, grouse, mourning doves and ducks, I shortened the gunstock end and added a recoil pad. The years have gone by and the gun has been relegated to a gun rack in the furnace room. I recently took it out to go trap shooting with the Boy Scouts from our ward. Age had finally caught up to the old gun and a crack in the stock became a split

After some searching I found a source for an unfinished gunstock machined as an exact replacement for a Model 37 Ithaca, circa 1940’s. Good ol’ internet….there’s lots of info on how to finish a gunstock. So, here’s the result:


I wish I’d taken a before picture, 'cause it looked pretty bad. Besides the new gunstock, the barrel, chamber and pump sections have all been re-blued as they call it. Here’s a picture of the finished gunstock.


Well now that I've shown it off, it's back to the gun rack in the furnace room.

The second reason I began to write was to express how glad I am that people can be ‘fixed’.

We went to the 3D movie ‘Hugo” the other night. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, the presentation and the story about how some people simply need to be ‘fixed’. There are moments in my life where I came out of adjustment, my self-governor failed and I malfunctioned. I shall be eternally grateful to the ultimate fixer, Jesus Christ, who makes it possible for me to be ‘fixed’. I am not sure I’ll ever be a perfectly working model of a disciple of Jesus Christ, but I’m better than I once was and I’m trying to be better still.

I have much to be grateful for – a wonderful wife of 52 years and counting. Together we have woven the tapestry of a wonderful life with beautiful children who have married well and given us 21 wonderful grandchildren (two incredible missionaries) and one great grandson. Wish I could have a daily hug from each.

May your lives be full and happy and may you need little 'fixing'. Love Dad


Barry Watts said...

Beautiful job on the gun stock and a beautiful message. You have always had a way with words. Thanks Dad.

Julie Freeman said...

Ditto to Barry! Love you dad. These stories are treasures to all of us.

Unknown said...

Jim you should definitely update this more often. That's a good looking gun you got sitting on your gun rack. I wish I had your ability to fix things. Somehow that gene didn't make it into my DNA.

Barry Watts said...

You need to get another pickup so this gun could be moved from the furnace room and proudly displayed in the back window.

Jane said...

Dad I'm always impressed with the way you "fix" things. I know I can always count on you for the answer for anything that needs a little help around our house. I wish I had your talents!! And please keep writing!!! Love you.