Dad blew his cool when they changed geography books — I couldn’t use my sister’s. So it was as rare as a moose coming up Brush Prairie Lane when I got a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Seems quickly the fun quitted. I then became the hunter. I used my dad’s stepfather’s Stevens single-shot pig shooter; called that because he butchered. The front bead was gone but I still had a chance — I could throw the gun at a target. The odds had to improve.
Well dad won a Dormeyer Mixer at our church picnic. Dad knew the donor, Western Auto, and they agreed to a Remington Fieldmaster .22 instead. My spirits were lifted when I saw that .22 laying on that picnic table; perhaps exceeded only by Mo’s blackberry cobbler.
Safety was my first virtue; dad wouldn’t let me load it until I got into the woods. Frugality was my second, I didn’t have any shells to waste. Me and Jimmy still took our guns to the pond when neither one had any shells.
I remember my own Christmas present, a Marlin Mountie I bought in Newfoundland. It also got my spirits up. The Navy shipped it in the belly of a Willy Victor via Pax River, then by railroad to Du Quoin, Ill. My spirits were down when the NRA didn’t print “My first gun” story. I thought it was unique. But they didn’t print “My favorite Gun” either. Well, they were busy.
Joe Fontana, Roxana