Thursday, March 15, 2007


Back in the days before Political Correctness became a societal bugbear - and when children actually played outside and got dirty - we littl’uns used to enjoy playing Cowboys and Indians - or a thousand variations of the same. Kings of the Wild Frontier, we were. Deerstalkers, muleskinners...we did it all.

Nowadays, I suppose it’d be Western Animal Husbandry Workers and Indigenous Americans...but the game is the same. I chase you, you chase me, we pretend to shoot and/or scalp each other unto death, we flick a few boogers at each other, we find something else to do.

On a related note, I remember when kids would wear their Hallowe’en costumes to school. You could get away with this only if you were in elementary school. In third grade, I wore an Indian Indigenous American outfit to school. Feathers, warpaint, leather fringed vest, the works. It was fun, except for the merciless razzing I got from the fifth-graders. Truly a Nerdly Moment...but that’s what the old Snot-Nose Days are all about, eh?

The Great Mythos of the American Frontier, that was a big thing. The Fess Parker-inspired coonskin cap craze died down before I was an age to care about such things, but the epic stories of how the American West was settled rang loud in our ears, as did the names of the many heroes of those stories: Dan’l Boone, Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, and all the assorted characters of the Wild West era. Fictional ones, too. Mike Fink, Pecos Bill - we knew ’em all.

I was reminded of all this when I found a treasured old volume in a box in the basement. The box, crammed with chess and checker pieces, poker chips, dice, and a Roulette Wheel in working condition, was an unlikely place for a book to have hidden itself away, but no matter. What mattered is that I had found an old friend, a treasure from the days when kids could still play Frontiersman...

Nasty Bumppo
Why, it’s...Nasty Bumppo!

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