My Memories Are Like The Red Ryder BB Gun Christmas Story

by frugalrvers

My childhood memories are eerily similar to Ralphie in the movie "A Christmas Story." I, too, wanted a Red Ryder - and got one, to my mother's complete displeasure...

The Daisy brand Red Ryder model BB gun is a featured item in the movie, "A Christmas Story." It is highly coveted by Ralphie, but no matter how much he pines and begs for it, mom always says, no way, you'll shoot your eye out.

Eventually, and in spite of mom, Dad decides to honor Ralphie's request and gets him the toy gun for Christmas. The scene always reminds me of my boyhood, because the situation was very similar.

I Want A Red Ryder BB Gun !!!!!

My Childhood, Like The Red Ryder BB Gun Movie Scenes

Growing up in the 50s in a small midwestern town, there wasn't much to do - at least from the present perspective. When I was a boy I was never bored, because I could go outside and ride my bike out into the country, or I could roam the little patch of woods and the wide fields behind our house. Fantasy play was enough at first, and I spent many hours alone and with friends passing the time. But at a certain point, a prop of some kind becomes necessary - a stick or something that can become a sword or a rifle in the budding imagination. Then, a kid finds out what is really out there in the world, usually from TV commercials or comics - the BB gun, not a toy, but a real gun made of metal that shoots little bullets!

I was like any other kid growing up under the influence of media - I knew what I wanted and I would have it, one way or another, like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. But my mother's response was remarkably similar to the movie mom's point of view. She didn't like guns, toy guns were nothing but trouble, and a toy that could hurt somebody was out of the question. Yes, an eye could be shot out, and she had stories of other children who had been injured and maimed by the little metal spheres. But Dad knew the truth, that a BB gun wasn't just a toy, it was a rite of passage. Without these formal rituals in our culture that others have, we have come to this - that a toy gun given to a boy means that he will soon be  a man. Well, maybe later rather than sooner, but making sure his son got what he wanted for Christmas meant that Dad was fulfilling his duty - telling the boy that he would be a man someday. So, my Red Ryder was under the tree on my 10th Christmas, and it was a beauty.

Today's Red Ryder BB Guns For Sale And Other Daisy Styles

Even A Pink Red Ryder BB Gun!
Daisy Outdoor Products Pink Gun (Pink/Black, 35.4 Inch)

The 1998 is a classic-styled BB repeater with saddle ring and pink leather saddle tie. It features a blade and ramp front sight and adjustable open rear sight. This spring air ....

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125th Anniversary - Official Daisy Red Ryder Range Model Air Rifle BB Gun

This is the BBgun of Ralphie's dreams. The Daisy Red Ryder youth BB gun brings you a rich tradition and a dependable design with a lever-cocking action and a 650-shot BB capacit...

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Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun - Model# 998938-603

Classic Daisy Red Ryder BB gun remains as popular today as it was more than 60 years ago. Not available in all areas; see restricted areas below. Please follow all local and sta...

View on Amazon

Daisy Outdoor Products 25 Pump Gun (Brown/Black, 36.5 Inch)

The Model 25 Pump Gun, is a pump action spring 50-shot capacity airgun that shoots BBs with a maximum velocity of 350 feet per second. Stained solid wood pistol grip stock and f...

View on Amazon

It's difficult to describe the impact that the long box and its contents had on me. It was a dangerous magic I was being given, a talisman of immense power, and something the other kids could be jealous of. Of course I tore the package apart in a kind of frenzy, and oohed and ahhed while Dad smiled, and Mom pursed her lips in that annoying way she had. Clearly, she didn't approve, but Dad and I knew what was going on, and it was important.

To a boy, a BB gun is just like the real thing. It has a hefty weight, the trigger feel, the smell of metal and machine oil, and the action of cocking it was heavenly. Then there was the little cardboard tube of precious BBs that you had to carefully open and position so that you didn't spill them. The act of pouring them down the barrel was fraught with peril, because one little slip could make you lose your ammo all over the bedroom floor. Eventually I got the hang of it, and loaded up my Daisy. I was ready for the world outside.

Just walking around with the gun was a joy. The weight in my hands was intoxicating, and lifting it to my eye and taking aim was unbelievably entertaining. When I got around to actually shooting at a defenseless tree, I was just a little disappointed at the small amount of noise it made, but I learned to love it. Being outside shooting my very own BB gun was more fun than I'd ever had, and Dad knew it. Mom made sure I never pointed it at anyone, and tried to keep me from shooting at birds, to no avail. But one thing I was never able to figure out was, how would I have been able to shoot my own eye out? It seemed impossible, and I never trusted parental warnings about anything again - what hogwash!

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Updated: 03/22/2016, frugalrvers
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Any Red Ryder Stories You Want To Share?

frugalrvers on 02/28/2013

Thank you Georgette! I wish someone in my family had your brother's talent! Would love to watch/hear him "perform" scenes from the movie...:)

georgettejohn on 02/27/2013

I loved this! I mentioned "Ralphie" in an article I did on the Walton's...Every year my brother (an uncle at age 2) and my adult kids watch it and it prompts laughter and memories every year! Stating one phrase from the movie at any time of the year causes my brother to begin quoting the movie verbatim. He has the "tones" of each character mastered and sends everyone into hysterical laughter as he imitates the scene with the turkey & dog! I never owned a BB gun but my brother did...much to the neighbor's dismay! Great article prompting fond memories!

ohcaroline on 08/21/2012

I was always trying to make slingshots or bows and arrows. I spent a lot of time playing in the woods too. I can relate.

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