In the late 1960s, our family lived in Houston, Texas. It was about a three-and-a-half drive north to our parent’s home in San Augustine. Christmastime was always a hectic time for all of us. My parents lived about twenty miles away from my wife’s parents. We, therefore, had to share time with both sets of grandparents when we would make the drive up north.
On this particular Christmas we had spent Christmas Eve in San Augustine spending the night. Of course, Santa Claus came to see our two children while we where there. He was quite good at finding us wherever we were. Much to our surprise Santa brought our young son a real BB gun, a Red Ryder. Although we were not too happy about this since he was so young, we did not want to spoil our grandparents’ Santa gift. So, I took Doug outside and showed him how to use a BB gun, and included all the safety precautions.
Several hours later I went outside to see what was going on with Doug and his new BB gun. I was shocked! My parents had decorated their front yard, porch, and the cyclone fence with large Christmas lights. To my dismay, I discovered that my son had shot out most all of the light bulbs in theses decorations.
I took him inside to “fess up” about what he had done. He reluctantly apologized to his grandmother for this dastardly deed of shooting out the lights. My mother hugged him and said, “Gosh, he really is a good shot.”
Well, it was difficult for me to say much to my son because I remembered when I got my first BB gun as a young lad. In fact, one could look at the outside garage wall of my parent’s home and see the evidence. I perfected a game in which I stationed myself by the wall about eight or ten feet away and waited for flies to light on it. Then I would shoot at them. I did not hit every fly, but every BB left a dent in the wood. So the evidence of shooting was still there until my dad had vinyl siding installed on the exterior walls.
This vinyl siding also covered up the sandy feeling to the wall. It seems that my older sister and I poured sand in my dad’s five-gallon paint bucket years before. Since paint was expensive, my dad tried to strain out the sand but could get all of it. So he was forced to paint the house with gritty paint. But, that’s another story.
My son never shot at Christmas lights again, but he remains a good shot to this day. As a retired police officer in North Carolina, he has had a lot of good training. But, it all started with a BB gun and Christmas lights at granny’s house.
“THE BB GUN”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
107 HEMLOCK STREET
PO BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972