During the 50’s with the introduction of television, many of us young boys could be found on Saturday mornings in front of the black-and-white television set watching our favorite cowboy heroes such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, and Hopalong Cassidy.
We all wanted to be like our television heroes, and many of those cowboy stars, for the benefit of their young audiences, created a cowboy code that reflected the characters they portrayed: men of high moral character that stood for everything that was good, decent, and fair.
Probably the best-known Cowboy Code was written by Gene Autry and it is still shared today. Do you think it is still relevant?
1.) The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage. 2.) He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him. 3.) He must always tell the truth. 4.) He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals. 5.) He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. 6.) He must help people in distress. 7.) He must be a good worker. 8.) He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits. 9.) He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws. 10.) The Cowboy is a patriot.
In our contemporary world, Gene Autry’s cowboy code may seem naïve, out-of-date, and from an idealized past that wasn’t ideal for many Americans. But the cowboy code is a reminder of a simpler time when as young boys we aspired to the ideals embodied in our heroes - although often unfulfilled in the real world.
When I was younger, I remember seeing the magazine Reminisce. It wasn’t something I wanted to read. It was for “old” people who enjoy stories from way-back-when. But I found it really discouraging, well, maybe not discouraging, but depressing. No, that is still not the right word. No, I found it absolutely shocking that in one of the recent issues, they highlighted the year 1974! I mean 1974 – not 1954 or even 1964. Has it really been forty-three years since Barbara Streisand recorded “The Way We Were”, or Towering Inferno was the highest grossing film, or the Nixon impeachment hearings began? How time tries to play tricks on us.
It’s time to enjoy all the activities that return during the summer months. A few of the activities you might want to consider are The Dalles Farmers’ Market at City Park on Saturdays from 9:00 – 1:00; the Wasco County Historical Society’s summer programs at the Moody/Rorick House, 300 W. 13th Street at 1 pm beginning on Saturday, June 17 (Karl Vercouteren will present "The Vogt Opera House: The Sequel"); and the popular and free (but donations are appreciated) concert series, 4th Sunday at the Fort, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Fort Dalles Museum - and it is recommended you bring a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on.
A bruise left by a kiss from your “steady”, or a drunk Italian policeman, was a “hickey”. (Many folks had fun answering the question including Sandy Haechrel, Alice Mattox, Tina Castanares, Jerry Phillips, Ed Anghilante, Barbara White, Jeanne Pesicka, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Virginia McClain - who said if some guy had tried that with her she would have slugged him.)
Continuing the theme of “love and romance”, this week it’s all about music. The highest ranked Billboard song with “love” in the title that was recorded more than fifty years ago was "I Can’t Stop Loving You". It was written in 1957 by country musician Don Gibson, who also wrote “Oh, Lonesome Me” at the same time.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, who sang “I Can’t Stop Loving You” which was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks in 1962? And if that was too easy, what group sang "To Know Him Is to Love Him" which was number one for three weeks in 1958? Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a copy of Georgia’s official state song.
Well, it’s been another week, waiting for my batteries to charge. Until we meet again, it’s not the end of the road until you see the dead-end sign.
“Don't worry about bitin' off more'n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger'n you think.” Cowboy Wisdom
Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon at Betty’s Diner at the Center.