Sunday, August 6, 2017

Things From My Childhood 4: BB Guns

I know it's been a long time, but I decided to knock the cobwebs off of this blog (again), and post something.  Here's another little tidbit from my childhood.  

When I was eight years old, I wanted a BB gun for Christmas.  I wasn't quite as bothersome as Ralphie, from A Christmas Story, but I was still pretty persistent.  I felt it was a long shot (no pun intended), but I kept up my vocal demonstrations of my desire to get my hands on that sweet piece of wood and steel.  

When kids are fixated on a particular item, especially as Christmas approaches, they tend to learn as much about that item as they can; I was no different.  I knew exactly what kind of box my BB gun of choice came in, what the containers of BBs looked and felt like, etc.  I would often browse the gun section at Kmart (yes, Kmart sold guns back then, as did most department stores, and even hardware stores), and lovingly heft the little boxes of BBs, noting the sound that they made.

As Christmas approached, presents began to appear under the tree.  I couldn't help but notice that one of the gifts was very similar in size and shape to the box that a Daisy BB gun is packaged in.  Could it really be?  I didn't think that the odds were in my favor, but I spent quite a bit of time handling that present, feeling the weight of it, shaking it, and hoping that it was a BB gun.  Another of the presents, when shaken, sounded just like a box of BBs, but was not the same shape as those I had seen in the stores. I remember thinking, Hmmm, maybe it's a box of candy?

My family drove to Oklahoma that winter, to spend Christmas with my grandparents.  That was the first time, in my memory, that we spent Christmas away from home.  We had visited my grandparents before, but always in the summer.  This was a new treat.  My dad loaded up the truck with our clothes, other traveling items, and a pile of Christmas presents.   After three days of traveling, we arrived at my dad's home town, in Oklahoma.  I don't remember how many days prior to Christmas we arrived, but it wasn't very many.  These were exciting times for an eight year old boy!

On Christmas morning, I was finally able to tear open that suspicious present that had been on my mind since it appeared under our tree.  It was a Daisy BB gun! I was happier than a politician with a bag of other people's money!

My dad gave me a quick class on marksmanship, weapon safety, and how the BB gun operated, and we were then in the back yard of my grandparents' house, shooting at a paper plate tacked to the door of the shed.  If I were a betting man, I'd wager that the shed in question still has BB marks in the wooden door.  

That BB gun and I had a long relationship.  I dispatched many a soda can with it, and it accompanied me on all manner of adventures while growing up in the hills. 

No comments: