Wednesday, October 15, 2003


Years ago, when I was a little feller, I dreamed of being a cowboy. It was just after the birth of television and westerns were the rage. TVs were always and only black and white and there were some folks still who had old radios that had been adapted with a cathode ray tube.

On Saturday mornings the western was the rule and Roy Rogers was the King of the Cowboys! Dale Evans was beautiful and I loved her as only a six year old can love a woman. When I turned five my Mama bought me and my little brother Roy Rogers outfits. They were complete with white shirts with little red roping on the edges of the collars that matched the red bandana the outfit came with. The pants were black with red piping going down the seam that matched a black vest with red trim. The red Roy Rogers hat topped off the outfit easily.

Now, I won't even brag about the beautiful leather gunbelt and two chrome metal six shooters with real plastic bullets that fit into the holdres on the gunbelt. I never could figure why it came with them plastic bullets since they didn't fit the gun. It was a jim dandy cap pistol.

I wore that outfit all the time. Mama has pictures of me and my little brother standin' in the doorway at Christmas in our Roy Rogers outfits...just as proud as any cowpoke could be.

My Grandma and Grandpa lived just down the road from us- a short walk. We spent plenty of time at their house. Grandma could make cookies like you never ate in your life. They had a big ol' poodle dog called Bobo an' my little brother used to pretend it was one of them rodeo bulls and wrassle with it.

Grandpa used to love to have his hair combed. He would pay me the huge sum of ten cents to comb his hair. Now, when I could I would comb for a minute or two and quit. He never let me go with just a minute or two. The deal was a good combin' and it usually took near ten minutes to satisfy him.

I would sit on the back of his chair with my legs draped over his shoulders and comb and comb. He loved that so much. Most of the time he fell asleep as I combed. More than once Grandma would lift me off his shoulders as he dozed.

Now, I gotta tell you something. Combin' hair for a livin' at the age of five or six can get right borin'. There ain't much to it. To top that off, Grandpa loved to listen to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio. So I would sit there and comb while he listened and dozed.

To make it fun I would pretend as I combed. Bein' a cowpoke in trainin', I pretended mostly about cowboyin'. In my mind I would ride an' rope an' shoot em up with the other cowboys. I would catch the crooks an win the gals.

Didn't figure out what to do with the gals when I won 'em for a long time.

Then I decided combin' Grandpa's hair was sorta like curryin' a horse. I had done both. Actually, I had curried and brushed my other Grandpa's mules, but mules is sorta like horses.

From that day on Grandpa became my favorite horse Trigger an' I was Roy Rogers. Grandma didn't know why I called her Dale sometimes, but went along with things. I would take that comb and comb Trigger's mane over and over. It grew longer as I combed. It was a heck of a lot more fun since Grandpa sat an' became Trigger for me. Roy Rogers couldn't be caught combin' Grandpa's hair. It was more respectable to comb Trigger than Grandpa!

Then one day I almost fell off the back of the chair. As I slid backwards I caught Grandpa by the ears and held on. He grabbed my hands to help me up. Right then and there I had an idea. As I sat in front of Grandpa, recovering, I noticed his ears looked a bit longer!

What if I pulled on his ears on a regular basis? Reckon he would start lookin' more like a ridin' and ropin' pony?

Well, I started then and there pullin' on his ears every time I combed his hair. I would sit there and comb, smelling the slight scent of Brylcreem, dreamin' of bein' a cowboy and ridin' the range. When he would doze off to sleep...jerk - his ears would get a tug.

Now he didn't like it much, but he put up with it for the hair combing. He didn't care much for me huggin' him as I left and callin' him Trigger. I don't know what he thought of my attempts to comb his hair to look like Trigger's did on the big screen or on TV. In my eyes he was lookin' more ands more like Roy's famous horse.

I tried to get him to count to ten with his feet, but he wasn't takin' that. When I tried to put that rope in his mouth that one day...well, I got a spankin' no cowboy should ever have to get.

It has been years since I combed Grandpa's hair. He finally got tired of it when the tops of his ears started droopin' over a little.

Never got me a Palimino horse like Trigger. Someday I will. Someday I will.

And I'm gonna name it.......


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