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The Blog Brothers

Two Black-Irish-American brothers from the mythical city of Albany, New York ponder their 20th century adventures from either side of the Pacific Ocean; Bob in Kyoto, Japan and Mick in Santa Barbara, California.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Gun that Won the Imagination

Mick you did it again, you did it again, you always do that: you stick one magic phrase somewhere innocuously in the middle of your post somewhere for me to find and it evokes a rush back to wells of emotion I haven’t slaked that particular ancient thirst from in 50 or 60 years, and this time the phrase was “Red Ryder BB Gun.”

Upon reading it I vortexed back to when my entire 10-year-old being was devoted to getting a Red Ryder BB Gun, that strong, sleek, repeating-action rawhide-thonged beauty that would save anything in peril; that New York prairie equalizer that would carry me safely into the future, intrepid boy…

The ads were in or on the back of every comic, to meditate on in that post-comic reverie of all the adventures awaiting a boy who owned one of these beauties and I begged Dad to get me one, pestered him, I was saving my pennies but dollars were beyond heaven and Dad had dollars I’d seen them in his hands so I became a mosquito in the shape of a boy, focused on that one and only forever desire of mine (this being prepuberty): I showed him the ads, I pointed out the low price, the beauty the sleekness, the way in which it all led perfectly to the future…

But he would have none of it. Wouldn’t entertain it for even a moment. He was just back from the World War, where he’d spent three years and all his innocence, beheld to the soul what guns can do; he’d survived the Battle of the Bulge and beyond into the heart of horror, had all those photos of frozen German soldiers with the luger and the Nazi officer’s bayonet and the multi-signatured Nazi flag in the cardboard box in the attic that he never opened, that indeed when he left, he left behind…

So I never did get a Red Ryder BB Gun, which from this perspective was, I think, a wise decision on Dad’s part…

All the more magical, therefore, were my trips to the country house of our cousins Jackie and Teddy, down on the Hudson River above Schodack (across from the long island where we used to steal corn), right in the middle of timeless indian hunting grounds. Every kid in that region had a bb gun, there was always an extra to be had for me to use and off we'd go, hunting intensely, never getting anything but what fun it was, what adventures, and then came puberty.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ted said...

I really enjoyed the BB gun story. Thought you were telling a story about me except I got one. Went to the hardware store and picked one out. They called my parents who ok'd it but the store kept it until it was paid for. Tough for a 10 year old to make any money.
Thanks for the memory-Ted

6:33 PM  
Blogger Robert Brady said...

Thanks, TaD, glad you enjoyed it, and that you got a BB gun...

4:13 PM  

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