When my now 5 year old son, Bency, was 2 ½ we moved him out of the nursery and into his own bedroom. He didn’t get a say in the decorating of his room because, well, he was 2 ½ and mainly because I love antiques, had a large collection of cowboy decor and had been waiting to have a boy so I could utilize my finds.
Boys these days don’t know much about cowboys. My generation knows a little about cowboys mainly because we grew up with 5 channels and occasionally an old western show or movie was the only option. My parent’s generation loved cowboys. I have pictures of both of my parents dressed up as cowboys as little kids.
Cowboys were the superheroes of their day. Cowboys were strong, rugged and calm under pressure. They could lasso a cow with precise aim and draw their guns and shoot their enemies in seconds. They were resourceful and not afraid of anything. They lived by their own law.
I don’t like science fiction. I like real stories. I like history. I would like to think we all learn from past accomplishments and mistakes and the people in our history have helped forge the path to help us become better people.
Cowboys weren’t perfect citizens. There was unneeded death, drinking and gambling. However, their story also reminds me that we as human beings are capable of living off the land, surviving outside with only a campfire, water and beans. We are capable of using our heads in the face of danger and we are strong and have amazing healing capabilities.
I recently asked my son if he wanted a new room. He has “real” interests now. He likes dinosaurs, zebras and superheroes. He said, “No, I love my cowboy room.” Bency doesn’t play cowboys. He doesn’t dress up and go around pretending to shoot people. He doesn’t don a bandana around his nose and mouth like his grandfather and pretend to rob a bank. I’ve read him stories from the old Gene Autry books I have and he’s watched a few westerns with his dad. He understands about cowboys but I didn’t think he loved them.
I guess I don’t go around dressed in a cowboy hat either and I don’t cook us beans in the backyard over a campfire. I would have no idea how to lasso a cow and I’m allergic to horses. That has not stopped me from loving cowboys. It’s a story and it’s real and it’s a comfort to know that we can all be superheroes if we have to because the cowboys showed us we have it in us.