When I was Young No. 24 – Cowboys and Indians

Cowboys and Indians

Influenced by the western movies and comic books of the 1940s we often played cowboys and Indians with our friends in Van Hook. And, except for Tonto and Little Beaver, the Indians were always the bad guys.

We had cap pistols, Daisy BB guns, rubber knives, and homemade bows. We always made sure the BB guns were out of BBs before we used them against each other. Most of us had shot at least one bird and knew they were dangerous if used against a person. Indian players only shot imaginary arrows with their bows for the same reason.

Our cousins, Dale, Neil and Robert were visiting so we and some other boys chose sides and set up for a fun afternoon of fake battle. My brother Lowell was one of the Indians. We had been playing for several hours and we cowboys were out of caps. We barricaded ourselves behind our Radio Flyer wagon and some cardboard boxes and they had us surrounded.

Lowell ran to change his position in the ditch alongside the road holding the Daisy above his head like a charging Brave we had seen in the movies.

I threw my cap pistol at him as he ran. I didn’t lead him so I knew it would land behind him. Just as it left my hand, he stopped and aimed the Daisy at us. My timing would have been great if he had not stopped. My cap pistol hit him smack on the forehead just as he dry fired the BB gun. His war-whoop changed to a yell of surprise and pain. He dropped his gun and held his head. It was the first real wound of the game and we all ran to see if he was OK.

He survived. Mother gave him a cold rag for the bump on his head and sentenced me to weed the garden while the other boys played.

The cowboys, out of ammo and outnumbered, lost the game.