Memories

Judy and I, We Tamed the Wild West Together

The story begins at the Seward Elementary School when the kids all ran out of the school with some shouting, “school’s out, school’s out, the teacher left the bulls out,” marking the end-of-the school year, and the beginning of the summer break.
My summer days started out by playing cowboy, fighting Indians, and shooting six-guns. A great way to pass the time. On one of those days, I do not know the exact day when we first met, but I was in the school playground riding my Palomino stallion and shooting all the bad guys, and a few Indians, trying my best to rid-the-town of thieves and gunslingers that threatened the streets of Seward when I first saw Judy.
As I was tired, I tied up my horse, and began taking a much-needed rest from putting so many bad guys in Boot Hill that particular morning.
As I rested against the side of the old woodshed, Judy approached me, coming face to face with me…almost! She was not just any girl.

This girl had long skinny legs. She had long thin arms. She had a crown of blondish- brownish hair bleached out by the summer’s sun. She had a wide smile showing nice teeth. She was wearing a nice summer dress. One thing about her made me a little uneasy; she was two-inches taller than me. However, the most intriguing point about her was the fact that she was wearing a gun belt with a holstered six-shooter.

We immediately struck up a unique friendship. As she talked to me, I became aware that she too was interested in cowboys, cowgirls, guns, and hunting down the bad guys that were terrorizing the town. She too had her own horse, not a Palomino stallion like mine, but a Painted pony named Stormy. Stormy was born in a bad thunderstorm she told me.

For several weeks that summer, we met in the back alleys of Seward’s downtown area eliminating the crooks, the bad guys, and the few bad Indians when we found them.

Indians were tough, and we found most of them stealing chickens from the chicken-coops behind Mrs. Thomas’ house.

There were times when Judy came to my house. I too went to hers. After our greetings, I saddled up my Palomino and she saddled up Stormy. Together, we galloping off on our horses to the next imaginary gun fight, or to break up a bar-fight and take the scoundrels off to jail.

On other occasions, we met in the alley behind Hoover’s store and rode our horses to the matinee playing at the Seward Theater to see the latest western film. There we sat and watched Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans, Gene Autry, the singing cowboys / cowgirls of the day and of course, Rex Allen, and Hop-a-long Cassidy was also a favorite.

After the show, we again rode our horses back the way we had come—slapping our leg with our hand to make the horses run faster.

I do not know when the shooting of the bad guys and the fighting with the Indians stopped. Perhaps, we just went our separate ways as the summer ended. Perhaps, when the wild western movies ended at the Seward Theater our interests waned. I do not know…

Nevertheless, each time that Judy Poling and I met later in the years after leaving high school, our individual smiles across the room revealed to each of us what we secretly new, and what others did not know. In our child hood, we had ridden togeather: I on my Palomino-stallion, she on Stormy, the beautiful Painted mare she loved so dearly. In our childhood, we had kept the bad guys, the crooks, and the lawbreakers at bay. Together we had brought law and order to the streets and back alleys of downtown Seward.

Judy and I were cowboy and cowgirl…friends and classmates. As such, you can never be too far from each other’s thoughts and memories. After fifty-plus years of memories in the making, I still reminisce of the days when we protected the streets of Seward. I, on my Palomino, and she on Stormy…with our six-guns a blazing!

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