-- Last year we lost three of our cowboy heroes. First, Roy Rogers
died, and I am not sure whether Roy was stuffed or buried. He and
Dale Evans, his longtime wife, stuffed Roy's horse Trigger when Trigger
went to that great corral in the sky.
We had not been without Roy for long
before we lost another great cowboy hero. Gene Autry, the singing
cowboy, died, and I shed a tear or two when I heard his voice at Christmas
time. That voice will probably last throughout the
current millennium, singing ''Rudolph
the Red Nosed Reindeer.''
I don't know what a music expert would
say about ol' Gene's singing style. Doesn't matter to me. His voice
was very pleasant, and the millions of records he sold has to count
for something. I don't know about you, but it wouldn't be Christmas
without Gene singing his Christmas songs. I look forward to the Christmas
season so I can hear Gene. And Bing Crosby singing ''White Christmas.''
After Roy and Gene passed on, it wasn't
too long before we lost the Lone Ranger, and that really hurt. I always
liked Roy and Gene, but I had a special affection for Clayton Moore,
the Lone Ranger. I rode with him and Tonto into the sunset many times.
I got to where I could chime out, ''Hi Yo, Silver, Away,'' just like
he did at the Dixie Theatre pn Saturday afternoon, leaving his calling
card -- a silver bullet.
The Masked Man always got his man. He
foiled many bank robberies. He always was there in the nick of time
when some no-accounts were up to no good, like robbing a train. What
I liked about him was that he was tough on cattle rustlers. It was
so much fun to see the bank robbers and cattle rustlers being put
They had a forlorn look as the Lone
Ranger put them in handcuffs and took them away. In those days, the
man in the white hat always won.
Kids don't get much in the way of white
hat justice today. Today, so often in our movies, the crooks win.
And if they don't win, they commit a trail of violence a mile long.
Can we bring the Lone Ranger,
Roy and Gene back? When I was growing up, my big Christmas was when
I got holsters and two cap pistols from Santa Claus. All I needed
was a horse and that was a different matter, but you can always find
a solution to any problem, especially if you have imagination.
In the pasture beside my grandfather's
house there was a thicket of wild cane which, with imagination, became
my horse. Break the tallest cane pole you could find, put it between
your legs and you had yourself a horse.
After I gave up on Cowboys and Indians
and moved into baseball and began listening to the older boys tell
dirty jokes, I got a big laugh out of that old story about the Lone
Ranger and Tonto loping along in the valley.
They looked up and Indians were swarming
down on them from every direction. The Lone Ranger became concerned
and looked over at Tonto. ''What are we going to do?'' he asked his
trusted Indian sidekick. ''What do you mean 'we,' Kemo Sabe?'' Tonto
here to watch complete episodes of "The Lone Ranger" online.
Note: Loran Smith is executive secretary of the Georgia Bulldog Club.]