Today would have been Roy Rogers 100th birthday. He and fellow singing cowboy Gene Autry had a big impact on my life. Both reinforced the values that my parents were teaching me at home. Nothing like coming through the front door after school and settling in for some bang bang gunfire (without much blood or death reality), hearing a good song about tumbleweeds or little doggies, and seeing the good guys win! Gosh, it was so much simpler then.
I will admit that liking Dale Evans took more work for me. Oh, she was a good gal in reel life and real life, but I was always a little jealous of her getting my guy. When I would watch scenes where Dale was snippy to Roy, I wanted to punch her myself. Of course in the end, the guy always got the girl and I never wanted her to be standing in what I considered MY place either.
I was lucky enough to visit the Roy Rogers Museum in Branson shortly before it closed for good. Oh, I had such a good time walking down memory lane. I saw Nellybelle, holstered guns, lunchboxes from my childhood, and Dale’s flouncy gingham skirts loaded with rick rack much like the skirts I wore too in those days. After tootling around the memorabilia, we went in to hear the musical program. When I heard Roy’s son Dusty sing those old favorites full of a cowboy’s longing under a star-filled western sky, tears trickled down my old cheeks remembering the “good ole days”.
There was the Roy Rogers Riders Club in the 1950's with rules that encouraged kids to live a life that exhibited a code of goodness. Being clean, polite, obedient to parents, kind to animals and not wasting anything was high on the list. The guidelines also encouraged attendance of church, respecting our country and flag, and to love God. Who could argue with any of these doctrines for growing up to be a decent adult? Then when you heard Roy and Dale sing "Happy Trails", well life was just plain old good. I wish there were such decent role models for kids today.
So happy birthday, Roy. I miss you but appreciate all you left behind in me. Now, I think I’ll go listen to the Sons of the Pioneers sing "Cool Water".