We live in Louisiana, which is considered a "Sportsman's Paradise". Fishing and hunting here are not just for sport, though. Most people eat whatever they catch and the commercial industry for fish and seafood is abundant. Whatever the case, most young boys here are initiated into hunting by being given a BB gun. One of my favorite stories about a BB gun is, "A Christmas Story". I just love that movie! Poor little guy...everyone from his teacher to Santa Claus tells him that he doesn't need a BB gun because he will "put his eye out". And in fact, when he gets his BB gun, he almost does exactly that! Our boys were no different than all of the others around here; they all got a BB gun around the age of 6.
You may think that 6 is a young age to give a kid a BB gun, but that seems to be the "coming of age" thing for boys in the south. Oh, don't assume that these kids are just given a gun without instructions. Fathers give strict gun safety precautions, such as: do not pump the gun more than once (to do so would cause the BB to come out with more force...AND you could put someone's eye out), do not aim it at anyone (we do not shoot people or toward them...they could get hurt OR you could put their eye out) and never shoot an object at close range (you could DEFINITELY put your eye out...). However, with all of the good intentions concerning safety rules, boys will be boys and left to their own devices, they tend to get into a little mischief with those BB guns.
I can still recall one such day quite vividly. I was inside doing house chores and the boys were outside running around, as usual. At the time, we were living next door to my mother. While playing outside, the kids would frequently go back and forth between our two houses. There was no need for concern about allowing them to do this because we did not live near the road and there were 10 acres on which they could roam. There had been several "BB gun incidents" over the previous years...after all, 3 boys can think of things that you and I never could. There was the time when my mother had just freshly painted the colonial columns that line the front of her house. I received the call..."Barbara, could you come over here?" Ugh...now what?! She then proceeded to show me all of the tiny holes in her fresh paint...made by no other than the BB gun. And then, of course, there was the time that my mother came around the back of our yard (undetected), just as Ryan took careful aim with his BB gun and shot and shattered my French doors. Upon witnessing this, she then made her presence known by inquiring, "Well...I wonder who did that?" Without any sudden or startled movement, Ryan very calmly turned to her (with his BB gun still in his hand) and said, "I was just standing here wondering the same thing." So, when I received "the call" that day, it was of no great surprise to me.
"Mama", the small, squeaky voice came over the line..."We can't come home right now."
"Why?", I asked.
"Because Ryan is holding us at bay with his BB gun."
What in the WORLD was David talking about?!
He went on to explain that the floral property divider between our houses (where they crossed from yard to yard) was where Ryan was "holding them at bay". ( OK...Ryan is the youngest, but he is also the sneakiest; always has been...and still is!). I put the telephone down on the counter top, walked to the kitchen window and what to my wandering eye should appear, but Ryan...dressed in a camouflage jumpsuit, laying atop the roof our Aero Star mini van with his BB gun in his hand sighted in...HOLDING HIS TWO BROTHERS AT BAY! Every time they would attempt to cross the property line, he would threaten to fire a shot.. I THREW the window up and SHOUTED one word...RYAN! In one fell swoop, he slid from the van roof to the driveway, never even looking back toward me. That's all it took. They say "tone of voice" can be quite convincing...and he KNEW that "tone of voice"; it definitely convinced him to comply. The gun was confiscated, the other 2 boys were allowed to cross over into unhostile territory and all was well once again...Well, at least until the next misadventure of the 3 amigos! Which would most likely be the next day at the latest!