November 13th…“DID YOU HAVE ANY TELEVISION COWBOY HEROES WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE BOY IN THE LATE 1950’S AND 1960’S?”
Puffs of couch dust could be seen floating in the rays of Saturday morning sunlight that came streaming through our farm’s Living Room windows. Being the armchair cowboy that I was, I was earnestly bouncing on the edge of the couch cushions as I rode my imaginary stallion next to Roy Rogers as we made earnest chase after those dastardly villains attempting to evade justice. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, The Lone Ranger, Sky King and other valiant heroes of mine could always count on this lil’ hombre to be their faithful sidekick in the quest to bring peace and justice to the endless horizons of the “Wild West.
Something kinda perplexed me though, in those tiny wannabe cowboy days. For one thing, life must’ve been pretty boring back in the old days of history. Ya wanna know why? Everything was only black and white….what a monotonous world that must’ve been. I mean, in the reasoning of my kid brain, the whole world must’ve been that way, cause all the old photos were black and white. Even our Zenith television in the corner of our farm house Living Room was only emitting black and white images. I mean, doesn’t that fit kid logic? In the here and now, I could see my immediate world around me in color. So, to my infant-sized mind, something must’ve been missing in the old days, cause everything seemed to be only two colors…….black and white. And, being that us little people, during that time frame of existence, take life quite literally, I posed another question to my mini-brain………How in the world did Roy Rogers (and his friends) get INSIDE that little television box?? I remember, toddling around to the back side of the TV to see how they got inside that thing and all I could see were glowing television tubes, wires and a lot of hot air coming from that electrical contraption. If my cowboy heroes WERE inside that glowing globe……..how in the world were they gonna get OUT??? 😉
Now, like any respectable puny, pugnacious purveyor of law and order will tell ya, “Ya gotta have a horse to chase the bad guys!!” So, for this farm boy, I had two choices of equine excellence. One, was my Shetland pony, “Little Lady”. But during those long Minnesota winters, “Little Lady” spent most of her time in our barn staying warm and cozy, rather than me saddling her up and making her lunge through massive snowbanks in our farmyard. So, in her place, my dad had an awesome horse swing, hung by ropes from rafters, in our barn. After my cowboy shows were done for the day, I’d trudge my way through the snowdrifts, mount my wooden swinging steed, and continued “riding into the sunset” with all my cowboy heroes.
Not only was I impressed with all my cowboy heroes, I was also intrigued by the powerful majesty of the handsome horses they rode in all those glorious western adventures. In a type of split personality, I would, in my outdoor playtimes, become both horse AND cowboy in fantasy westerns of my own making. Like many children, I preferred, during the Summer months on our farm, to run barefoot in my playtime. My tender, Springtime feet eventually morphed into “tough as leather” feet as Summer and Fall came along. What I didn’t know then, was that, even though the the skin of my feet was now tough, my young bones inside were still “green” and very bendable. I would play cowboy (and horse) each day, for hours, as I’d be up on my tiptoes and chinking my young toes into the dirt to replicate a horse’s hooves making dust in all those cowboy adventure shows I had just seen on television. Over time, my young “green” toe bones bent to one side and, as a result, I have bent toes to this very day. Such was the price to pay to play cowboy for this rootin’ tootin’ rip roarin’ Norwegian Farmer’s Son.