” It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.”

Winter is dropping by for a quick visit today: it will only be in the high 30’s. When I went to get the papers earlier, there wasn’t even the smallest breeze so it felt warmer than 36°. The 40’s will be back tomorrow and for the rest of the week. No January thaw this year. We haven’t the need for one.

I never once wanted to be a pirate or a swashbuckler. I was part of the cowboy-cowgirl generation. I wanted to ride a horse and shoot standing up on the saddle like Annie Oakley used to do. She was a hero of mine. Annie was a sheriff, and nobody seemed to mind she was a woman. They never offered to come to her rescue. Annie didn’t need it. It wasn’t until I was older I realized that Annie Oakley was an anomaly because all the other sheriffs were lawmen.

Dale Evans was also a bit of a hero even though she wasn’t a shooter. She and Buttermilk rode the west together with Roy and Trigger. Dale on Buttermilk could jump fences and ride like the wind, and she had the best outfits with all that fringe hanging from the sleeves, and she wore those really fancy leather gloves. Annie wore more utilitarian clothes: a plain skirt, a blouse and usually a vest. She also wore a holster and a gun. After all, Annie Oakley did have bad guys to catch.

I went horseback riding a few times, and I fell off a few times. It was a long way to the ground. I liked the sound the leather saddle made, sort of a creaking sound as I rode on it, and I liked the view from the saddle where I envisioned tumbleweeds and cacti and chasing bandits who had robbed the stagecoach, but I never did get the hang of riding quickly. I was a slow rider better suited for the pony section where you ride in a circle. I figured I wasn’t destined to be the new Annie Oakley.

I also wanted to be Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden. Their towns had mysteries all the time, and they always solved them. My town had none. The local paper had a section about the police calls in town, and I got to read how so and so called because she had heard loud noises in her neighborhood or because someone’s dog was barking too long in the night. Big deal! We had no missing precious paintings or lurking strangers. We just had noisy dogs.

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21 Comments on “” It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Much the same weather over here. It’s snowing now but it’ll be warmer already tomorrow night. I do hope it will stay warm for the rest of the winter but I know it won’t be that way. February is our coldest month and it’s rarely warm.

    I think we mostly palyed police and thief when I grew up. Occasionally we played cowboys and indians and I always wanted to be an indian. I loved the bow and arrow 🙂 🙂 I even got a tipi that we sometime spent the night in. I remember how cold it was but I knew an indian never would complain 🙂 🙂 We did play Robin Hood too but I can’t remember anyone ever being the sherif of Nottingham though 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • olof1 Says:

      By the way, the robbing of the christmas trees are always on trees indoors, one never knows when bad weather comes 🙂

    • Kat Says:

      I just got home from a friend’s house, and it’s cold, winter cold, down to 30°, but it will be in the 40’s tomorrow.

      Strangely, we never played cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians sometimes. I remember my brother got a bow and arrow set one Christmas. The end of the arrows had suction cups should no one would lose an eye.

      Wew used to make tents from blankets. Never had a real teepee.

  2. Hedley Says:

    A cowboy hat, cap pistol and holster was totally de rigeur back in the day in Yarm Court Road. We were totally seduced by American culture beginning with the Lone Ranger on a late Saturday afternoon. Of course the really cool fellow was one Rowdy Yates, who, as I remember would swing down on the side of his horse and shoot his gun (I assume at some random bad guys or rampaging Indians), as part of the intro to Rawhide.

    Frankly Kat, I would have thought that you would have been more enamored by Calamity Jane, on the basis of the wonderful Doris Day belting out “The Deadwood Stage” (aka whip crack away).

    I am not sure when all this morphed in to Enid Blyton (Famous Five), the Just William books and Billy Bunter…but it did, when I wasnt making Airfix kits and getting my hands covered in glue.

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      You and I sahare the Lone Ranger. I always watchen him and Tonto on Saturday mornings.

      Rowdy Yates was when I was older, around 12, so I was beyond the hero stage, but I thought he was adorable as I had reached or near;y reached the biy stage.

      Annie was on every week as a series, and I don’t remember when I saw Calamity Jane.

      I had to look up Enid Blyton as she wasn’t popular here.

  3. Zoey & Me Says:

    she had the best outfits with all that fringe hanging from the sleeves, and she wore those really fancy leather gloves. Annie wore more utilitarian clothes: a plain skirt, a blouse and usually a vest. She also wore a holster and a gun. Sounds like Sarah Palin. You are more like the Nancy Drew. No wonder you fell off your horse. I can’t stop laughing. Thanks for the post. !!

    • Kat Says:

      You are welcome!

      She does sound like Sarah Palin; all we need to do is make sure it’s a down vest!

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We played Cowboys OR Indians (but mostly we played Indians). We never combined them but I don’t recall that we had a reason why we didn’t. Possibly it was just because Indians were more interesting than Cowboys.
    I didn’t have much experience with horses as a child. The odd loose horse would run through the neighborhood and stop to graze in my back yard. One tried to eat my hair. Once in a while there would be pony rides in a lot next to the China Moon and my parents would take us there when we visited relatives. I was 30 before I decided that I needed to learn to ride a horse. I didn’t fall off until I started jumping fences and then I fell off a lot. I broke a few bones but I learned much more than just how to ride a horse. I learned to be patient, calm and confident because that’s what it takes to get 1000 pounds of animal to do something it isn’t inclined to do. Works for people most times, too. 🙂
    I owned a horse for 25 years and it was a lovely experience.

    I did like Buttermilk more than Trigger. She had interesting coloring.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We combined them. Every hero needed an anti-hero to chase and Indians were the bad guys when we were kids. I agree they were certainly more interesting-wore better clothes too.

      I don’t remember pony rides by the China Moon, but I remember way down on Pond Street not far from where it joined the road pass the zoo there was a stable way in the back beyond a greenhouse where you could rent a horse. I did that a couple of times. I never did become even a passable rider.

      I think I would have liked to have had the oppportunity.

      Do you ride any more?

      • Caryn Says:

        I remember a public riding stable near the zoo and associated somehow with the county. I don’t remember the name. My mother said she and my father went riding there or somewhere near there one time. The horse started eating grass and she couldn’t get its head back up. She was not pleased.

        My horse died in 2004 at the ripe old age of 37 +/-. I did get to ride other people’s horses occasionally for a few years after that. But I haven’t ridden in about 4 or 5 years now. I don’t miss riding so much but I do miss working with horses. If I could have a pony in my yard without jumping through impossible Board of Health hoops, I would do it in a heartbeat just for the therapeutic value.

  5. Bob Says:

    Last night and today it rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock. I thought I would throw in a west Texas expression since you brought up cowgirl themes.

    Like you I wanted to play cowboy until my family took us to Disney Land when it first opened in 1955 and I discovered “Tomorrow Land” and the promise of space flight. After that visit I cared less about Hop Along Cassidy, The Lone Ranger or Wild Bill Hickok and turned my sights to the sky. I was still a fan of Sky King because he flew a Cessna 310 aircraft while chasing the bad guys and had a cute niece named Penny. A prepubescent boy will always put a cute skirt above anything else.

    I was not very good at horseback riding because I was scared to death of falling off or being thrown off the horse. I liked walking and made it to trotting before deciding that horses and my rear end did not mix.

    I did watch all of the Davy Crockett series, with Fess Parker, after our visit to Southern California, and always wore my coon skin cap in front of the television just like Davy. My favorite episode was when Davy went to his death swinging old Betsey over his head while killing Mexicans at the final battle of the Alamo. Unfortunately, the true story of how he met his demise was portrayed in the Alamo movie (2004) with Billy Bob Thornton.

    To me Davy Crockett’s memory is either Fess Parker or John Wayne. Neither of them would have let the Mexicans take them alive and then excite them the following day.

    • Kat Says:

      I like your western simile!

      Sky King was a favorite of mine too. The plane was even neater than a horse. I remember Penny and I also remember his nephew Clipper.

      I loved the name of his plane: the Songbird.

  6. Rick Oztown Says:

    I was wondering, Kat, if you’d read any of the Penny Nichols mysteries. I read my mother’s books, left over from her teen years in the ’30s, so read one or two of them.
    Although I grew up under school age on ranches and farms in west Texas, I didn’t really ride past about 4 years old. It did seem like a long way to the ground.
    Although we did play cowboys and Indians, I seem to recall Tarzan and Jungle Jim seeming much more attractive, so we had odd jungle bird noises and the “Tarzan yell” as carried out by young kids.
    Then when I got to about the third grade (1953) the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, comic book came out and I had already been listening to the show on the Saturday morning radio series. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized it was a TV series, too. So space opera themes also ran through our adventures.

    • Kat Says:

      I haven’t read any, haven’t even heard the name before this. They may not have still been in print when I was in my mystery phase as a kid.

      It was a long way to the ground!

      I don’t ever remember playing Tarzan though I do remember swinging from one tree to another. I remember Tom Corbett as a series, but I saw it when I was an adult, not a kid. I am a sucker for all those type series.

  7. Bert Says:

    Unrelated update: we survived. No thanks to Hans.
    As usual we have now a frantic discussion about whether the dikes are high enough. I don’t think we heard the last of that discussion.
    Related: wanted badly to ride as a little boy. The reality appeared to be a lot bumpier than I imagined. Horses are the best from a safe distance.
    regards from Holland,

    • Kat Says:

      I am glad that the dikes didn’t overflow. I’m thinking once the cost of raising them becomes paramount to the discussion theose dikes might just stay the same height.

      There were two horses in a field near our house grazing just about every day. My brother and I tried to catch them so we could ride them bareback. I am quite glad we never caught them!

  8. Bill S. Says:

    Sarah who?????

    Today is primary day in NH, and I for one will be glad when it’s over. NH is a very small state with a fairly homogeneous population, not representative of the nation as a whole. I wish all these politicos and press would just go away and leave us alone.

    My brother and I had small guns with suction-cup “bullets”, and when we were home sick with measles, chickenpox, etc., we would lie in our beds and shoot at targets we had drawn on the wall in the closet. We also had real raccoon Davy Crockett caps with tails, popular when Fess Parker met his demise as Davy at the Alamo with Buddy Ebsen, who later re-surfaced as Jeb Clampett in Beverly Hills.

    Speaking of tv series, does anyone remember “Circus Boy”, starring Mickey (?) from the Monkees?

    • Kat Says:

      That primary is filling the papers and is everywhere when I turn on the TV. I am already sick of the politicking and we have a long, long way to go. The Globemade that very same point about New Hampshire not being representative.

      My brother had the same gun. I remember it got taken away when he used the bullets without the suction cups as they had gotten lost though I thought he shot us on purpose.

      I remember Circus Boy!

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