Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: Christmas of yesterday | TSLN.com

Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: Christmas of yesterday

The other day I was listening to the radio in the pickup and they were interviewing people about their memories of a favorite Christmas present. Most of the people interviewed were fortunate to recall politically correct presents that are still acceptable these days. My memories of Christmas past would have to be censored had they asked me. One Christmas, my parents gave me a toy, battery powered, high capacity, belt-fed machine gun on a tripod. This amazing toy shot plastic bullets and ejected imitation brass cases as you fired. Mayor Bloomberg's head would explode if this toy reappeared under anyone's Christmas tree this season. My older brother was just back from the Army so he set up an infiltration coarse in the dining room and fired over my head as I crawled across the floor. If I was an undisciplined soldier and got my rear end up too high he shot that also. Every few minutes the plastic bullets had to be gathered up and reassembled into the belt. Of coarse, I shot my sisters, the cat and both dogs. The cat was kind of hard to hit.

Another Christmas when I was a little older I got a real gun. My oldest sister's husband had cut down a single shot J.C. Higgins .22 rifle to fit me. He did a beautiful job shortening the barrel, moving the sights back, and cutting down the stock. Santa Claus didn't even need to fill out any federal paperwork from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in those days. The responsibility that came with having a real firearm was a little sobering but that is a lessons we all need to learn. I still have the rifle and both of my kids learned to shoot with it. Now I probably can't see the front sight without my glasses. Today you can buy a kid-sized rifle right off the shelf but you probably can't find any ammunition to shoot with it.

I feel sorry for modern kids who have to lay there on Christmas eve with visions of suger-free tofu plums in their heads. All they have to look forward to is the latest transgender Barbie or a community organizer video game. Someday, when I am blessed with some grandchildren to spoil, I will have to find them a gift that still has a little of the wonder of Christmas and a bit of fun.