My Old Friend Horst

Horst was truly one of the nicest old fellows I ever met. He worked as a superintendent, building apartments. He may be the only man in that position I never had a head-butting with. There was something about the way he approached things, that I worked extra hard to be sure I pleased him.

We first started working together in the mid 1990s. Our friendship grew over the next few years. Horst loved deer hunting. I started including him in any hunts we were going on, whether business or when I was taking my sons hunting. He had wonderful stories to tell, which in his broken English was made even better. He had been born and grew up in Germany. He loved cigars and good whiskey, but was such a gentleman that he would never light up where it was a bother to anyone, nor did he drink to excess. Everything in his life was so neat and orderly. Even his shirts were pressed and wrinkle free when he walked out the door heading to a deer stand.

He hunted with a 270 left handed bolt action he had built by a small arms company in Sherman, Texas. The DuBiel Arms Company was only in business from the mid 1970′ until the late 1980s but produced some real nice guns.

He always admired the 270 Remington rifle that I hunted with. It too was left handed, so we made a pact that who ever died first, the other would inherit his 270. It was something done in earnest.

Upon the passing of Horst in 2005 several of the boys went with me to his funeral, several hours away in East Texas. We spent the whole trip reminiscing about our hunts with Horst and what memories we had made with him.

Some time later when I was traveling through East Texas, I stopped in and visited with his widow. I had only met her at the funeral. She and Horst hadn’t been married for that many years when I got to know him. She seldom traveled with him to the places he worked. She was content with him coming home every couple of weeks for the weekend and it seemed like an arrangement that worked for him as well.

She told me she had been able to sell most of Horst’s guns and power tools for a good amount of money, because he only bought the best of everything and kept everything in immaculate condition. I never brought up to her about the pact that Horst and I made, as it didn’t seem to serve a purpose. After a long visit I left and came home.

A year or two later a fellow, Glen, in San Antonio that worked for a excavation contractor ask my brother Kenny if he had heard anything out of Horst. Kenny told him that Horst had died. The fellow lived in Seguin Texas and had delivered a hunting rifle to a gunsmith there for Horst to have for some repairs done to it.

Horst had finished the project he was working on in San Antonio and moved on to another city for his next one.

Glen had received a call recently about the rifle and and was told that no one ever picked it up. When he told Kenny it was a left handed 270, it clicked that it was the gun I was suppose to have. Glen found the receipt ticket and gave it Kenny. We went and picked it up.

While I felt bad in one way about the way it all happened, there was a handshake made. A deal is a deal. I guess I figured it was meant to be or there would have been a different outcome.

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