John Mullen's grandparents Ed and Nellie Mullen.
A Christmas Story by John Mullen
 
January 3, 2018 - Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - The holidays taught me you are never too old to have a Red Rider BB Gun Christmas.
 
Somehow in my early teens, I became the proud owner of my grandfather’s antiquated and simple .22 rifle. It was a bolt action model which you cocked by pulling back on a knob on the back of the bolt. Slide it open, slip in a round, push the bolt forward, pull back the knob, aim and fire.
 
I wasn’t much into firearms and still don’t hold any fascination for them. I don’t hate them, they’re just not my thing. As far as I can recall, my grandfather had little interest in them. Which makes it all the weirder he had a gun at all or that I somehow ended up with it.
 
But other than a few rounds into a plastic bucket after a deer-hunting trip with an uncle, cousin and brother – I wasn’t given a gun for the actual hunt – it was rarely used.
 
Mostly, it sat in the corner of some dusty closet. It moved with my mom and me from place to place and became a cherished item for mainly the memories and it being the only thing I had connected to my late grandfather.
 
Until the day I went to mom, who had possession of the rifle while I was in college, and said, hey, I want that rifle. I have a place to store it now.
 
But it was nowhere to be found. The details of what happened to it are unimportant, but it was definitely gone, never to return.
 
But the son, Sean Mullen, who is definitely into firearms, remembered the story about the rifle as his interest in firearms grew. He’d been biding his time for years searching for such a rifle when perusing the stock at local gun stores. That’s what gun people do.
 
This year he found one. He brought it home, cleaned and polished it up and presented it to me at a gathering of family and in-laws.
 
And, you know, it’s really not about the rifle, although I’m looking forward to firing a few rounds with my son one day. It’s really that he cared enough about me to remember the story for all those years and make this happen.
 
Thanks, son. And, thanks for making an old man cry.