Sunday, August 16, 2009
THE HORSELESS WEST
You would think with a name like mine I must have ridden a horse many a time.
After all, my last name is West.
I have only a very vague memory of ever being on horseback. It had to have
been sometime in the early to mid 1950's when we were living still in Malden.
There was a place over on Rte 1 in Saugus, a mini amusement park with a kid size
roller coaster, carousel, and ferris wheel. It also had a pony ride, which I recall
taking at least once on a pony that was, I think, a pinto.
I have no photographic proof of the event. Neither do I have pictures of me on
a rocking horse, nor on a carousel horse. In fact, my lack of equine experience is
a bit embarrassing looking back.
To make matters worse, the Range Rider's sidekick was named Dick West.
And the nun who taught my First Communion Class was the first person I can remember
telling me to "Go West, young man, go West!"
Nevertheless, I was a loyal Western fan. It didn't matter to me, whether it was North(Sgt.
Preston) or South (Tales of the Texas Rangers) or in the air(Sky King), if it was a Western,
I watched it. I had a Roy Rogers lunchbox. Okay, officially it was a Roy Rogers and Dale
Evans lunchbox, but that was never mentioned And of course, there was the Lone Ranger.
Later on when the new ABC network came along, there was a whole slew of Warner Brother
westerns: Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Lawman, Bronco, Maverick.
And of course I read all the Black Stallion books. Strictly speaking, they weren't Westerns
but my philosophy was that if you were going to be a cowboy you needed the best horse,
and the Black and his offspring were the best.
One summer when we were visiting Aunt Flossie and Uncle Herbie up in Milan NH, some
pictures were taken of me wearing a cowboy hat and toting cap pistols. I'm pretty sure they
belonged to my cousin Bobby. One of them is a group picture with my parents and sister
standing in front of the garage that I would come to know oh so well a year or so later
when Mom taught me how to ride my bike. By that time we'd moved to Boston and after
the infamous Blackfoot Indian incident I wasn't quite so enthusiastic about Cowboys and
I don't think I wore a cowboy hat again until my Charlie Daniels period in the late 1970's-
early 1980's when I wore a black cowboy hat, denim vest, jacket and pants, and drove a
green Chevy pickup. And now I've bought sort of a straw cowboy hat.
And that ladies and gents, is the sad tale of this horseless West.
Written for the 78th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy