I grew up in small country towns where boys got BB Guns on their birthdays and girls got anything that was not a BB Gun on their birthday. When my little brothers turned 9 and 7 (you should be 10+ to own a BB Gun), they got their first BB Guns on Christmas. My sister and I being 12 and 13, got our own telephone line in our room. I, however, was a pretty stubborn girl and I really wanted to shoot my brothers BB Gun. After all, I thought, how hard could it be?
That morning when the boys went out to learn how to shoot their BB Guns against the old broken garage, I traveled along in my big snow boots and coat (though I hated the cold even then) and was determined to shoot one of their BB Guns. I had no idea what I was doing and was actually told not to play with the BB Guns, but when no one was looking I snatched my brother’s (Rachel’s husband’s actually) BB Gun away and proceeded to shoot to prove I could do it!
I shot myself in the foot.
It is really important to understand gun safety, even with a BB Gun. Airguns are real guns and you should read up about how to use one before using it.
My teen has asked me for a BB Gun since he was a little boy and because we lived in Apartments during most of his childhood (and because I shot myself in the foot), I would always tell him no. On every Christmas for the last 5+ years when we watch The Christmas Story, he would ask me and I always tell him the story about how I shot myself in the foot.
Some part of me always wanted to get him the Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun though. Maybe it was something about where I come from. The memories of watching the boys standing outside with their BB Guns like little tribesmen and standing around the older men who had brought a deer back from hunting to hang up on the tree outside my window are powerful. The stories they would tell of their hunting trips; the laughter and boasting of the smaller boys of when they were old enough for real guns, haunt me in that way that memories sometimes do.
My son never had moments like this and since there are only few of his years left before he becomes an adult, I wanted to give him something from my past before he was making his future. Maybe some deeper part of him resonated those elements of where we come from, perhaps in his bones he knew he was one of those boys dancing around the tree – Red Ryder held high.
That’s what had me going to Cabela’s late one morning last week. I don’t think there is any other store I could trust to have everything I was looking for. It is so unique and interesting inside, we always go through it before doing anything else at the mall. While my son rattles off about wanting everything from a BB Gun to a automatic bow, my tot likes to look at the big Moose, the deer and the pond with the fish inside.
Having already made the mistake of not reading up on gun safety so many years ago. I made sure to read what my teen would need with his Daisy Red Ryder. I picked up the airgun, some .177 caliber BBs, some targets and (later) a gift card for his goggles because I wasn’t sure the size. You can read all about my trip to Cabela’s and the big Alligator Snapping Turtle on my Google + Story!
The only thing left to do was to figure out how I was going to give my son his gift. He is actually going to be with his father shortly before Christmas to after New Years, so I wanted to make it special. I first thought I would wrap it up in garland with a bow and hide it with the tree, can you see it?
Then I remembered our garden gnome.
My son got this zombie garden gnome for his birthday this past October. Ever since he got it we have hidden it in various places to try to freak each other out. It’s become this crazy game! The last time I set him in his dark room, on his bed with a video game surprise. Just imagine walking in the door with a creepy garden gnome staring at you in the dark!
It didn’t work.
But maybe, I thought, first thing in the morning before he leaves for his Dad’s I could get him when he walks in on this…
He may be growing older and I may only have a few years of his ‘childhood’ left before he’s off finding a college, girlfriends, jobs and apartments, but at least in these few years that are left I can give him something he’s always wanted – a Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun.
In many ways it is like giving him a part of our history. A small part of the gravel and dirt roads that my family grew up on and the old initiation into manhood that was given to every boy in every generation before him.
That’s how real Christmas Stories are made.
With all of my gratitude for helping me to make my son’s Christmas wish come true, thank you to @DaisyOutdoor #bb4me. You can share your support of tradition as well, by liking them on their Facebook Page.