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Monday, May 17, 2010

JJ: Again, Bauska

I bought a book the other day that was originally in Les' library, a copy of Mann's "The Bullet's Flight". It had his name on the inside of the cover and, like all the books he used, sported some greasy fingerprints. Opening the book released the odors of cutting oil and coolant that permeated his shop and everything in it and brought back a flood of memories for me.

Happy memories -- I liked Les and visited him often.

I spent a lot of time back in that cubbyhole office of his, visiting and petting whatever pup was in residence at the time. I guess my favorite memories of Les are of him ensconced in his recliner, surrounded by interesting clutter and hemmed in by books.

Books. In later years, Les marked his books with an embossing tool, putting his "Lester O. Bauska" name on the title page and again on page 100. This one predated that tool by many years.

(Factoid: Les' middle name was Oswald, and the short-lived main street bar called Ozzie's was named after him and was owned by one of his sons.)

The champion book of Les' for oil and fingerprints was Roy Dunlap's book on Gunsmithing, he'd obviously used it for reference for a long time. Another was Hatcher's Notebook, a bible of firearm information. Les always said if he read a book once, he'd never read it again, but that didn't apply to his reference books.

He had a massive library of technical references on everything from cameras to flint knapping, and if I got in an oddball text on a subject he didn't have, he'd grab it. He could delve out the answer to almost any technical question anyone threw at him after a little digging on his shelves.

He sold off most of them over the last couple of years that he was active and I thought it was a shame to see such a great library dispersed, but I could understand his reasoning.