Friday, February 02, 2007

Weapon at the Airport - Part II

(This is part 2. Read yesterday's post first.)

The excitement was irresistible. I opened the door, stepped out on the porch and raised the gun. In the dark I couldn’t see but knew I couldn’t miss the barn. I pulled the trigger and listened for the shot to hit the wall. Over 52 years have passed but I can still feel the chill of the air and hear the sounds of that shot.

That Christmas morning began a series of memorable adventures. Not long after, an older cousin held the gun when his brother suddenly said “See if you can hit me!” He began running up the path that led from the porch to the road above my grandmother’s house. His brother took aim as I watched with fascination.

“Did I hit you?”

My cousin came back to the porch, pulled up his left pant leg and displayed the broken skin on the side of his calf.

“It just grazed me.”

“That’s what I planned.”

I was impressed by their courage, bravado and the easy lies that floated around the porch on that sunny spring day.

But, back to the airport, the fatherland security officer and the weapon of individual destruction

We left the gun with the police at the airport and tried to arrange for a courier to ship it to us. No luck. It may still be at lost-and-found or perhaps some employee took it and sold it.

The loss of the gun irks me; it raises my ire; it provokes me to turn to a colorful vocabulary to express my irritation. However, I’ll resist.

In 1954 it was the passion of any self-respecting, red-blooded, true American boy to own a genuine Red Ryder lever action BB gun complete with saddle ring! Little did I know at that time that an antique Daisy BB gun was a threat to national security when declared and checked with baggage to be transported by airline personnel in secure areas inaccessible to passengers.

There is a bright spot to this experience. I hadn’t seen the gun in years. It had been stored in my mother’s attic. My brother-in-law, Leon, found it and did some work on it. Over the years the plastic stock had bowed and he straightened it. Many, many years ago I lost a bolt that held the stock to the barrel and had replaced the bolt with one that was too long. He ground down the bolt and put a smooth finish on the exposed end.

Things are easy to replace but attitude, family and friends are not. I don’t need the gun or its monetary value. I have something more valuable and useful. I have childhood memories associated with the BB gun and the new memory of Leon’s creative skill and kindness in repairing a toy from my childhood.

The gun is lost but the memories are safe for a while longer.


Blogger Buffalo said...

That absolutely bites!

How in the hell can we inject a little sanity into this craziness?

2/02/2007 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Kindness said...

fantastic story. i wonder where your BB gun is right now. i wonder if i will ever trust authority. thanks for making me wonder.

2/03/2007 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger MojoMan said...

Have you seen Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story"? "You'll shoot your eye out!" I sure wish I still had my old BB gun. I spent many fun hours with it.

Seriously, though, didn't you KNOW you'd have nothing but trouble with ANY kind of gun at an airport in this day and age? I can't even carry on contact lens solution, for crying out loud!

2/05/2007 07:51:00 PM  

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