*Here’s another old post brought back from the archives:
When I was about five years old, I got one of the best Christmas presents ever. If you’re a guy, you know what I’m talking about. I wasn’t old enough yet for a BB Gun, as in “A Christmas Story;” those days were a few years away yet. But this was even better for a kid my age — a toy machine gun. Made out of real plastic. If I remember correctly, it even had sound effects. I was in assault weapon heaven.
Before I go any further, I must admit that my memories of this period are a little foggy. I do remember a time of blame and accusations flying as fast as imaginary tracer rounds between me and at least one of my siblings. So the truth of those days is murky, at best. But the emotions, oh, the emotions still run as deep and clear as ever, even some forty-seven (now fifty-one) years later.
You see, there remains a lingering doubt in my mind that I may not have been the true recipient of this marvelous Christmas gift. This doubt, I feel strongly, is a permanent, lingering effect of enemy brainwashing attempts, carried out by my older brothers. I think they were jealous of my gift, and wanted it for themselves. I clearly recall a time of sheer bliss on my part, when I had that shining weapon in my hands, and was attempting to obliterate every brother and sister I could center in its sights. I might have been imagining reaping their presents for myself, or maybe even getting my own bedroom. The only thing I lacked was a toy dagger clamped between my teeth.
Alas, a little boy’s dreams were shattered. That is my last memory of holding the prized machine gun in my hands. I don’t know what happened to it from that day onward. I think perhaps my parents had taken it away; I couldn’t imagine them having done such a thing, but yet the fully automatic M-16 was gone. I seem to remember asking about the toy many times after its disappearance, but it was as if the rifle had never even existed. No one seemed to know what had happened to it. For a time, I suspected it being high up on a closet shelf somewhere, and that one day it would reappear with little fanfare and find its way back into my trigger-happy fingers, accompanied by dire warnings from the older members of the household. Yet it never reappeared.
My older brothers may have known what happened to that machine gun, but back then, despite my best efforts at torture-by-nagging, they never talked. And if any of them remember now, they’re still not talking. My parents were bafflingly mute about the whole affair, probably hoping I would forget about the trouble-making toy. Clearly, that never happened. Perhaps, and I hate to admit it, I was simply too young at the time for such a powerful and deadly gift.
The funny thing is, in later years I would be introduced to other toy weapons, and then to real ones — BB guns, pellet guns, .22 rifles and pistols, shotguns . . . and be monitored with great care by my father and taught all about gun safety and cleaning until I could handle them all safely on my own. Thinking about it now, maybe Dad was behind the mystery of the missing machine gun, after all. And maybe he did not want me to forget.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, dear readers! Any Christmas-time mysteries or memories you‘d like to share?