Friday, June 16, 2006

Growing Up

Danny, my childhood friend from Texas and longtime buddy, sent me a recent photo of himself. Danny and I knew each other when we pooped in our diapers, and a few years later we spent most of our time playing Cowboys and Indians with cap pistols. Back in those days a play cap pistol was made out of real metal, had loadable shells that were placed in an operable, real, spinning chamber, and a top quality one would have two plastic covers that simulated pearl handled grips. And of course, a real leather holster.

Danny is now a grown man whose hobby is shooting guns, and in the photo he is dressed up in full Texas cowboy regalia: a cowboy hat, a belt that holds real bullets, a holster holdin’ a revolver on his hip, and he is about to aim a rifle at a bad hombre who’s been messin’ with someone else’s steers. I find the photo to be a howlin’ hoot. I started laughing and couldn’t quit. My wife, Peggy, came to the computer to see what was so funny, and she said Danny looked like Wilfred Brimley the actor. “Buy Quaker Oatmeal. It’s what’s good fer ya’…...........and leave dem steers alone or else I’ll shoot yer ass full o’ buckshot.”

It’s amazing how kids in some ways never really change; they evolve into adults, keeping many of their childhood qualities. To you adults blessed with children, I am suggesting that you already know your children for part of who they will become. When I see my old buddy’s photo I realize Danny grew up, but in some ways he grew up like a tree. He became larger but still that same ol’ sapling in many ways. When I see him strappin’ on a holster, totin’ a revolver, and aimin' a rifle, I realize Danny is still pretending to be Roy Rogers and when he finishes his rounds of target practice, he’s headin’ home to the DJ Bar Ranch to hug his sweetheart, Dale. I am especially proud of Danny because he has kept his heart and soul on the side of the law. He’s no cattle rustler; he’s the sheriff.

I, on the other hand, went in a different direction, but I’m still Dukeing it out with the bad guys.

That is a terrible quality photo, but I am very proud of it because it is the Double Sabre Form with Ray behind me. We were performing for over a thousand people. My form was better than Ray's, and at that precise moment it is obvious, but Ray was always flashier and more exciting to watch. Learning that form was about as hard as getting my Masters degree, but it took about two months less time.

What children become is one of the fascinations of life.


Anonymous said...

Dang! That IS Wilford Brimley.

Laura said...

I admire your ability to do that form. I am sure you worked very hard. However, I must tell you that from the photo, it looks like you have really perfected riverdancing...

Walter said...

Riverdancing? Riverdancing??*!!#!

We just came back down to the ground. Our imaginary opponent was either attempting to take us down with a sweep kick or more likely, had a three sectional staff or a Shaolin Long Staff. The form is combat against multiple opponents (more than a dozen). We are talking battlefield conditions. Ray and I were both landing at the same time!


Besides, we can't jump as high as the Riverdancers. But we could beat them up.