Searching for toy guns for his three little cowboys, Tony Woodlief finally turned to a hobby shop.
I was greeted by a gruff bearded man. He could smell the panic on me, like a grizzled sergeant can smell it on a soldier in his first battle. “Something I can do for you, son?”
“Yes. Please. Please, for the love of all that remains good about America, tell me that you carry toy cowboy guns. Just a couple of cowboy guns is all I’m asking for. Toys R Us doesn’t have them, Wal-Mart doesn’t have them . . .” My voice trailed off.
He sized me up, perhaps to see if I was one of those pansy do-gooder Public Citizen types just looking to make trouble. Fortunately I hadn’t shaved, and I was wearing flannel. “C’mon,” he said with a gleam in his eye, “we just got in a shipment.”
They just got in a shipment.
He led me to the back, where he had assembled — and I am not making this up — gun racks to hold all the toy armaments. If Santa ever needed to assemble a commando strike force, this could be his armory.
I was raised in a non-gun-owning family — except for squirt guns, and it took a lot of argument to get those. We used garden stakes to make bows and arrows, a true put-your-eye-out toy. When I was a kid, it paid to be an Indian.