The Alamo, facade

The Alamo, facade (Photo credit: Kansas Explorer 3128)

Photo of Fess Parker as Davy Crockett from the...

Photo of Fess Parker as Davy Crockett from the television miniseries Davy Crockett. This episode is “Davy Crockett Goes to Congress”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a child, I watched all the western shows on TV. Perhaps my favorite was Fess Parker as Davy Crockett. One Christmas I even scored a coonskin cap. Wow, was I happy. That was when I lived on the windy plains of eastern New Mexico.

Those days, my friends and I would fill up our canteens early in the morning and take off. We didn’t care where we went, but usually we would jump the barb-wire fences and walk through ranches and farms that cradled the town. The ranchers and farmers didn’t care, as long as we didn’t bother anything. Back then, kids got up early, had a little breakfast, said goodbye to Mom and returned to the house before sundown. Come home after sundown and you were guaranteed a spanking. But, between those daylight hours, the buddies were able to make up the best stories.

If we happened to be out in a field and there was loads of dirt, we would play army. Occasionally, new homes were built in the neighborhood, and whenever builders were putting in plumbing, the ditches became our foxholes. Each of us would take a role from the TV show “Combat” and commence the battles of World War II. When we were on these fields and hiking, we were Kit Carson, Zebulon Pike or Lewis & Clark. Every step was an exploration.

Engraving of Zebulon Pike, who led a U.S. expe...

Engraving of Zebulon Pike(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On one of these explores, we grabbed loads and loads of dead tumbling tumbleweeds and built a fort. Well, not really a fort, per se, but the Alamo. It was very easy to push the tumbleweeds together to make a wall. We were amazed at how easy it was.

Once the Alamo was built, we all took roles and fought every marauding uniformed brutal imaginary Mexican that came over our tumbleweed wall. We still fought the battle of the Alamo, even though we all knew by then that Davy and his fellow defenders never made it west of San Antonio.  And, because we can make up anything we want, when we defended the Alamo, we won! We shot our BB guns until there were no BBs left. I had a big Bowie knife back then, so I played Jim Bowie. Every time we did the Alamo thing, Davy was represented by each of us at some point. And, we really didn’t need to have a grownup there to tell us not to aim these BB guns at each other.

Of course, whenever we got home, we were just plain filthy. So much dirt spread all over our clothes, but we were all smiles. We had great times making up stories. If we were near a tank and windmill, we pretended we were the drovers of the Goodnight-Loving cattle drive, which ran not too far from our little town.

And because Billy the Kid met his match near Lincoln County, not too far from where we lived, and his story was very popular back then, I couldn’t count on both hands the number of times, we chose sides and were either Billy the Kid and his gang, or we were Sheriff Pat Garrett and his deputies chasing him.

And, sometimes, we’d pretend we were the main characters of any of the current westerns that were on TV at the time, whether it was “Maverick,” “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke,” “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “The Big Valley,” or any of the other TV shows that were popular then. So, we had plenty of inspiration to drive our imaginations.

I am writing this to set the stage. Because of the times spent out in the farms and ranches, I absolutely love the West. To me, if I am taking the incline up to Pike’s Peak, then Zebulon Pike must have walked directly next to every cog we take to get to the top. There is a grizzled mountain man waving to me as I ride to the top. And I am very happy to see these imaginary figures.

So, over the next several days, I will share with you some details of the 3-week trip that Patti and I took through the West. Every inch of the trip was majestic. I will share with you the fun aspects of our trip, as well as some of the challenges, or disappointments, we saw along the way. I hope you enjoy these brief vignettes, we sure did.

God bless you all.