It’s funny how after reading all the Bond books and seeing all the movies how certain things seem to relate to them. I’m not really sure if this is a Bond Experience per say, but it sure felt like it to me!
I needed to have my Walther PPK coded to my palm print so only I could fire it… or was it the slide stop that needed fixing? Either way it was something I didn’t know how to do.
I used my smart phone to search out an armorer. I found the closest was about 30 min. away. I gave him a quick call to confirm he would be open, and a calm quiet voice with a trace on an accent said he would indeed be there all day.
I punched the address into my Sat-Nav, slipped the Skyfall soundtrack CD in and took off. My Jaguar purred along nicely as I enjoyed the nice scenic drive which led me just over the Vermont state line into what looked to be a residential area. I wasn’t real sure what I was looking for, but it seemed to be it was going to be a business out of his house instead of a store front type place. I found the address but was mildly surprised to not see a sign advertising the place. Once I got on the porch I did see a gold plaque stating this was indeed Windham Armorer. I rang the bell and a voice answered “Come in, I am downstairs”.
I entered and walked down the basement steps and was immediately reminded of the scene in The Man with the Golden Gun when Roger confronts Scaramanga’s armorer. I looked around but Lazar was nowhere to be found. Being used to Fleming’s characters having unique, distinguishing or other oddities about them, I wasn’t remotely surprised to see the armorer was confined to a wheelchair having lost his legs. He was talking to another customer so I took the time to take in my surroundings.
I looked around the dimly lit basement and saw a rack of rifles (one that could have been made for a 3 fingered hit man!), stacks of ammunition, piles of paperwork, amongst the usual furnace and other basement items. “You must be the man with the Walther”, he said to me. “I’ll be with you in a minute”.
I leaned against a basement beam and patiently waited my turn. Listening to him speak, it was clear he knew his business and had been doing it for quite a while. What wasn’t clear to me was his accent. He spoke unhurriedly as a man content with where he was and in no rush to be somewhere else. The term “a man of the old country” came to mind. It was a refreshing change from the hurried, harried “need it now” way of life that seems to permeate the world in which we live.
The customer left and I was formally introduced. His name was Michael (wouldn’t M have been more appropriate?) I turned over my PPK to him and by now I had guessed his nationality.
“You are Greek, right?” He replied he was, and expertly looked over my weapon.
A lot of gun forums and some people tend to look down on the PPK as out dated, and an unreliable gun. To my delight he said nothing of the sort. He examined it and made comments on what a great classic design it was as well as well made and reliable. He then went on to explain about different ammo and weapons and certain techniques.
I couldn’t help but feel like Bond in a scene where Q gives him his latest gadget. I picked his brain about his work, and asked him about my grandfather’s shotgun which I had recently inherited but as of yet hadn’t fired. He answered all my questions about guns, and then being part Greek, I asked him about himself and how it was back when he was in Greece.
He told me to have a seat, and then talked about growing up and what life was like back then. How he worked for his dad and uncle, going to school and that despite how rough things were they had one good meal a day. He explained how beautiful some places were and which places were not.
As we conversed all I could think about how much reminded me of the character Litsas from the novel Colonel Sun. It’s funny but I feel having read that book many times I could relate to his stories even more than had I not.
When I had arrived I thought it was going to be a quick and simple transaction, instead I left feeling more knowledgeable about not only guns but also about life and how different life used to be.
I walked out feeling slightly naked without my PPK, but elated about the unique look into this wonderfully interesting man’s world.