I went in, of course. How could I not?
It was a big store, mostly hardware. But everybody was clustered around the guns. A father and his teenaged son were checking out a couple of Beretta over-and-under shotguns (I think the Whitewing and the Diamond Pigeon) and laying out some serious coin in the process. At one point, the dad quietly instructed the son to leave the gun broken (i.e., open and visibly unloaded) when he put it back on the counter rest -- solid safety is good gunshop etiquette.
The daughter of one of the proprietors was skipping around. She was eight or so, I guess, a little blonde wisp of a thing. Her dad was getting ready to go on a business trip, and she made much out of his "abandoning your only daughter." Quoth another store employee, "Don't you have a sister?" Girl, with evil grin: "Not for long!" I liked her style.
I asked about .22 rifles, and the cigar-smoking employee was happy to help. He showed me several rifles -- single-shot bolt-action; wood stocks, synthetics -- but nothing really struck me. Then he said, "Well, this is a little pricey."
And he pulled out one of these.
It was a Weatherby Mark XXII, and it was beautiful. His was priced at $895; that's a lot for a .22, but I've seen this model for more and less. They were manufactured in a few different countries, and I'm not sure where this one was made. But wow. I picked it up and lifted it to my cheek and -- it literally felt like an extension of my arm. I'd heard that expression of fine guns before, but never experienced it. Now I have. I put it down and picked it up again, just to feel that moment of wonder again. That thing belonged in my hands.
When I handed it back to him, I was grinning from ear to ear. "Damn you, sir," I said, "for showing me that." He grinned back at me; he understood.
Sigh. Another gun on the "guns I want but can't buy just now" list. But man, was it ever great to hold.