When I was a little girl, I had a genuine Daisy rifle. Bonita and I each got one for Christmas. Santa left the rifles smack-dab in the corner, right behind the Christmas tree. I dropped to my belly and army-crawled back there to get my gun; Bonita was right beside me. We got so excited, we knocked the whole tree down. Whoa! Now that’s one, no two, very excited little girls. I believe our excitement overcame any anger Mom or Dad had about the mess created.
Dad attached a target to some bales of straw in the barn and he taught us all about gun safety: never put the barrel of the gun in the ground, always aim carefully and know what else is around that might come into your line of fire, never leave the gun loaded, and never, ever, never aim a gun, any gun, even a toy gun at a person. Dad was in the army during the war; that’s where he learned all those rules and that’s why he took pointing a gun at a person so serious. He never wanted us to even pretend to shoot a person. “Guns are not toys,” he said.
Gary, who moved from down-south and lived across the street in the Russells’s house after they moved to a town with a better school, had a B·B gun too, so he came over to target shoot sometimes, but only if Dad was there. Same thing for Tommy next door, but Tommy didn’t have his own gun, so he just watched and waited for someone to take pity and give him a turn. It was against the rules to have boys in the barn, unless Dad was home. My gun had to be cocked every time I wanted to shoot. We each took a turn shooting, then walked up to the target to claim our hole in the target. At first, the target was clean, everybody missed, but before too long we were arguing who got the bulls-eye.
When springtime finally came, I sat some cans and baby food jars on the fence Dad made of old telephone pole cross-arms, and shot the cans and jars right off there. Bonita and I pretended to be just like Lucas McCain on The Rifleman, except we could only fire one shot at a time, before re-cocking our gun.