Saturday, March 7, 2009

100 B.C. (100 years Before Cowboys)

When I was a small child, I somehow got this notion that B.C. meant Before Cowboys. First there were indians that roamed our land. And then the cowboys came and chased all the indians off to the southwestern states where they were corralled into indian reservations or sold arrow heads in New Mexico.

So if someone said, "it was the year 100 before B.C.".. I imagined it being a land of indians and buffalos and colored corn.

When I was between 3 and 4, i played cowboys everytime i had the chance. I used to carry my baby bottle in one of my holsters as I rode merrily through our house on my play stick horse!

When I was 5, I would play at Kathy's house and hop on her rocking horse.. It had a pull-string with a ring attached at the end and I loved pulling that string up toward my shoulder to hear the horse winny.

When I was 6, we tied a shoe-string across our stingray bike's handlebars and maneuvered the string to steer our bikes as if it were the reins on our horse. Other times, we'd loop a rope around someone's chest and under their arms and by holding the ends of the rope, we'd steer our horse from behind.

I remember playing Bonanza when Chucky jumped out from behind a tree and told me to drop my gun and put my hands up. I did. He shot me anyway.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

I leaned over holding my gut. "ooh. You got me!" I gasped and staggered a tiny bit before collapsing onto the grass, directly on top of my toy metal gun. I still wear the scar on my left knee.

And then one morning when I was 7, Terry came running over to my house in her brand new indian suit with war paint on her cheeks and feathers in her headband. And we never played cowboys again.

From that day forward, we played indians.

I loved the way the water color paint would dry out and feel pulled across my cheeks. My indian suit was my old Daniel Boone suit but Terry swore she would never share our secret.

And she didn't.

We'd run around in bare feet. We shot bow and arrows. We carried rubber tommyhawks in our belt. We made our teepee by hanging a large sheet from the clothesline and then spreading out all four corners using books to place it firmly on the ground.

Playing cowboys sure was a lotta fun. But, so was playing indians.

And, then again. So was playing pirates. And pretending to be little people. Or Swiss Family Robinson. Or Lassie. And Harriet the Spy. Or playing army or pretending to be The Monkees. Growing up as a kid back then sure is different than growing up as a kid today. And I'm grateful I was born in such a time as then.


Doodlestreet said...

Awwwwwwwwwwww!!! Yer adorable, partner!! Say, I gotta a couple cowboy hats here we could wear. Don't matter how old we get, still gotta have those hats! :O)

That's a sweet sweet post...those days were great, weren't they? You are right about being a kid today, so much different with all the technology influence. I loved the days that play was in our imagination and what we could create with our hands our in our playful minds.

Some of the most fun I had as a kid was with sticks and paper. I remember one summer I used a card and clothes pin in the spokes of my bike to make it sound like a motorcycle! I thought I was sooooooOOO cool that summer. Hee hee...

Thanks for bringing back those memories. Did you ever make home made bubble water? To blow bubbles with outside? Or make home made taaffe with marshmallows? Make bow and arrows with sticks from a tree and string? OH OH! Or two cans and a string for a phone? So much fun.....

danny said...

Oh maan that first paragraph is soooo funny! You have a gift of conjuring up childhood memories so vividly! There was an orchard near our house when I was little. That was our Wild West, our Sherwood Forest, WW2 Occupied France when we played 'Combat', and various planets when we played 'Star Trek'.
You should write a book Shawn!

doodlegirl said...

Doodlestreet and danny, I totally did a lot of those things you both mentioned including putting a card in my bike spokes to make it sound like a motor. I wonder if in 20 years, we'll notice that people don't have the same active imagination as they once did. I wonder if it's something that gets developed the more we use it....

Rayne said...

What a wonderful post. It sounds like so much fun. I envy you these memories. I was never able to play pretend, I was too self-conscious. I must have been a very boring child.

violetismycolor said...

When we were kids, I was always the cowboy and my sister was always the Indian. But we loved that game. 'Before Cowboys'...that's funny.

Joyce said...

Wow, Shawn -- we totally had the same taste in books in our childhood -- I Loved Amelia Bedilia -- that book really made me smile that a grown up could be so silly -- and Harriet the Spy -- I can't count how many times I read that! How about "Madeline" and "Pippy Longstocking"?!!! XXX000