A BB Gun for Christmas…by Art Dykeman


I left for boot camp on 26 DEC 1984.   The first Christmas I was home for was in 1986.  I came home for about 3 or 4 weeks.  I can’t remember all of the presents but PJ wanted a BB gun.  Those of you who knew our mother know she didn’t care for weapons.  I couldn’t have a BB gun growing up.  Mom and I had long discussions about it.  I actually tried to push for a .22 Rifle but it didn’t go anywhere.  So after all the discussions and promises to teach him how to use it safely I was allowed to get him one.

So Christmas morning PJ gets his BB gun and is all happy.  We go over the important safety stuff like don’t shoot Kathy or the dog (with anything more than a single pump, two if it was a long shot). Just kidding.. But really..  We both took turns shooting at cans and targets and such.

I don’t know how long after this Christmas but it was summer so it had to be at least a year and a half later and I was home on leave again.  We were playing with the BB gun out in the front yard.  At some point he threw an apple at me which was pretty common at our house as we had several apple trees around the house.  Anyway I pumped that BB gun 30 times or more. (I actually lost count and can’t remember but 30 sounds good) I kept threatening to shoot him and he kept running, hiding and throwing apples. 

You probably need to be familiar with the layout of our house to fully appreciate this but here is the Shot:

I was at the Maple tree next to the driveway probably 60-70 feet from the foyer to the house.  He was in the garage and out of apples.  I couldn’t get a clear shot at him as he got through the garage into the pantry.  The door into the house was open and there was about a 4 foot distance between the pantry to the house.  From where I was standing I only had about a 2 foot gap where I could see him poking his head out looking for an opportunity to bolt across the opening. I was moving to get more in line with the opening to give myself a better chance when he made his move.  I saw him start I shot I heard him yelp with pain.  I knew I hit him in the but or leg although I didn’t know where until we both got inside.

The BB didn’t go through his jeans but did leave a really good welt on his thigh.  Having been hit similarly earlier in my life I knew it stung.  He didn’t cry he wasn’t really mad he just said that it hurt.  To my knowledge he didn’t tell mom I shot him and although he threatened me with vengeance he never took it. He literally turned the other cheek.  I apologized to him of course.  I really didn’t think I would be able to hit him on the run with only a 2-3 foot gap with a bb gun at 60-70 feet away.  But Every now and again he would remind me that I shot him.  As in the first story this was one of the things he would bring up to make me feel guilty and such.

I am not real sure what this says about PJ other than he was a forgiving man.

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2 Responses to A BB Gun for Christmas…by Art Dykeman

  1. Kathryn Shoults says:

    Every year on Philip’s Christmas list was a white mouse-why he wanted it I have no idea just that it was there on his list year after year. He was in his early teens when I was able to convince Mom to let me get him one for Christmas–a great feat in itself. So two days before Christmas, Mom took us to Penn Can Mall and I set off to the pet store. I got him everything he need–cage, food ,bedding, water bottle, wheel and a white mouse. I got it home and set the cage up in my room and settled the mouse. Instantly the mouse got on the wheel and started to run and run and run. the wheel sqeaked so loudly that I had to turn the music on so Philip would not hear. It ran all night. I was thrilled with the perfect Christmas present for Phil but as the night wore on was exhausted as the thing wouldn’t stop running–In the middle of the night I finally took the wheel out of the cage and got some sleep. When I woke the next morning the mouse was dead. My christmas present for Phil was dead. Crushed, Mom rushed me back to the mall to exchange it for a live one. Christmas morning we woke and Phil was thrilled. A week later we had every white mouse Phil ever asked for –as his gave birth to several. His white mouse was pregnant. Do you know what happens if you don’t separate them?–When I left for college he had over thirty white mice–The gift that keeps on giving (mom a headache)

  2. Splendid site, but ideally I couldn’t agree with it.

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