July 2nd…“AS A LITTLE BOY ON YOUR FARM, DID YOU ENJOY WATCHING WESTERNS ON TELEVISION? HOW DID YOU PLAY COWBOYS AFTER THE SHOW WAS OVER?”
An equine explosion of beating hooves raced across the little black n white television set that sat in the corner of our Living Room on our farm in southern Minnesota. I loved every cowboy movie and television show that I could watch. There I was, absorbed in all the thrills, sitting on the frayed edge of that old easy chair. My little boy body bounced on the cushion of that “horse”, keeping rhythm with the same cadence of my latest cowboy hero as he sat in the saddle of his mighty steed.
As the dastardly devil of a villain raced into the jagged hills, my cowboy hero guided his handsome stallion, without waiver, in hot pursuit. In the truest sense of “horse power”, that cowboy’s muscled mount dug in his hoofs as each horseshoe spewed back dust and gravel as he was spurred to even greater feats of power in their race to suppress evil. With lunging leaps, my hero’s horse catapulted them both in near vertical jumps as they gained ground on the assailant ahead of them. In short order, the team of cowboy and horse were to stop the evil up ahead and see him overtaken by their combined power of good!
After the happy ending of another cowboy television adventure concluded, it was time for my little boy imagination to carry on the thrills in my own ways. In the summertime, I could run outside to play cowboy, but oftentimes, in the many months of winter, I had to confine my mini-adventures of western wildness to inside our farm home. It was no time for inventive games and ways to play cowboy indoors. Being “knee-high to a grasshopper” in those days, the floor was not too far down (like it is now when I’m an old man), to reach. With unlimited energy to burn, I’d easily drop to all fours (hands and knees), and happily pretend I was Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or even the black-caped Zorro!
My pretend cowboy pony (in other words, ME) was missing something, though. Oh sure, I could rear up on my legs and whinny like a horse, I could imitate a bucking horse, even. What this “horse” was missing was the SOUND of those horseshoe hoofs going clippity clop on the ground. IDEA TIME!!! I ran over to my mother in our family kitchen and asked for some horseshoes……….well, actually I asked her for some Mason Jar lid rings. You see, our dear mother, Clarice, canned LOTS of food into glass jars for our family to enjoy during the very long winters there in Minnesota. Over time, she had gathered a large collection of jar rings and lids to accomplish her canning goals each year. Mom sweetly shared two of her jar rings with me and I was then one happy cowboy!
I grasped the metal jar ring with my finger tips so that when I placed those two rings to the floor, that metallic sound replicated the metal sound of the horseshoe of a horse. BINGO!!!! I now had my very own clippity clop sound as I reared up in a triumphant horse standing position (from my kneecaps, that is) and then went happily clackety clacking away through our linoleum-floored farm house as a very pleased little cowboy version of a Norwegian Farmer’s Son.