When I think of the Cavalry, I think of the Old West. The idea of men heading off to war mounted on horses, in today’s world seems completely crazy. In reality, it was precarious enough in the days of the Cowboys and Indians, but even more so with guided missiles, tanks, roadside bombs, and suitcase bombs…just to name a few. I realize that those weapons have evolved slowly, but the Cavalry probably rode horses well past the point when it was safe for them to do so. Nevertheless, the reality is that many of the men had no desire to give up their horse for the alternative in 1941, but that was what they were told to do, and so they did…many with tearful sadness to show for it. They followed their orders, with minimal grumbling, because things like that could get a guy in trouble. Still, the goodbyes were tearful, even if the tears had to be held until the soldier was alone.
Of course, we know, as did they, that the weapons that were being lobbed at them were far more sophisticated than they had been in the early years, but they had come to trust their horse to get them out of the place that found themselves in. In reality, that was becoming harder and harder for the horse. Remember that any weapon that was lobbed at the rider, was also lobbed at the horse. It was hard to hit one and miss the other. A tank on the other hand was often invincible against many of the weapons back when the tank was invented. It was in the best interest of the soldier to give up his mount, but it was fully understood that it was also one of the hardest things they would ever have to do.
Troop F stationed at Douglas, Wyoming would be one of the last troops to be required to give up their horses. Their horses were stunning black Morgan horses, and this troop was proud of their horses, and their duties. One duty of which they were especially proud was when they escorted the Governor at state events. The riders were in their dress white uniforms, and even the horses were dressed up in white. The horses were so proud of their duties, and they knew them better than the rookies who were riding them. When the men presented their shining sabers, the horses would prance sideways in an elaborate display of discipline. For the men who worked with the beautiful horses daily, the thought of never mounting up again was…well, devastating.
Nevertheless, in the end, the men lost their horses to the modern world and modern machines. While it was not the preferred situation, the men knew that times were changing and they would either have to change with the times, or become dinosaurs of the past. I suppose that most of them would continue on, because that is what soldiers do. They came to serve their country, and they would not let their final dismount be their final act in the service.
Over the years of our childhood, my sisters and I were exposed to the history of this great nation. Mom and Dad loved the things that showcased the Old West, including Country Music, old western movies, and western books, but they mostly wanted to show us the places where the Old West really happened. Of course, some of the places were replicas of the real thing, such as Wall Drug. Any time we went through South Dakota and there was enough time, we stopped at Wall Drug. It’s funny to think that a drug store could be called a tourist attraction, but with all the wagons, horse statues, and photo boards, people come just to see the sights in the drug store. Wall Drug is in the town of Wall, South Dakota…a huge town of 906 people…and that is today, so I’m sure it was much smaller when I was a little girl. In fact, I don’t recall anything about the town of Wall…just the drug store. I suppose that sounds funny, but the drug store really was the coolest place in town.
Of course, when Mom and Dad took us to see relics of the old West, they would take us to places like an old fort, which inevitably included an old cabin with a sod roof. People these day, have no idea how that worked…unless they had parents who made sure that they got to see a real one. Even when you study about it in school, there is nothing quite like being able to see what it was really like inside a house with dirt and grass for a roof. I have read books like, “Young Pioneers” and the “Little House On The Prairie” books, that talk about having a sod roof, or even a Soddy, which is a house built out of sod, often into a hillside. The floors were obviously dirt, and the homemaker would actually sweep those dirt floors. As I read about that, I began to wonder if those women weren’t just a little bit crazy, but then again, I suppose that if you left the crumbs in the house, you would have more bugs than normal, because I personally don’t see any way to have a sod home be completely bug free. And of course, depending on what got spilled, the floor could take on a sticky life of its own. After thinking about that for a little while, I think I might consider sweeping that dirt floor too.
When I think about it though, what would the Old West be, without horses. I can’t say that I ever gave any thought to having horses of my own, but I think horses are awesome, if someone else has to clean up the stalls. There were people that Mom and Dad knew, who had horses, and they might have been family members for all I know. Having friends or family who had horses made it possible for us to have a little bit of exposure to horses and how they were. I can’t imagine having to travel everywhere by horse, but riding one is a lot of fun. I feel like our parents gave my sisters and me vacations combined with education. Mom and Dad always made it feel like we were really there in the Old West. It was like going back in time. It was an education that you couldn’t get in school, and while I was no fan of history in school, I must say that history as my parents taught it to us, was an amazing journey.
It’s every school aged child’s dream…enough snow to have the school district call a Snow Day. The only bad thing is that they are always few and far between. Nevertheless, I can remember a few of those snow days from my childhood. They made for good rivals for the storm we had overnight, in the amount of snow received. I remember one storm in particular from those days, when we were told that the snow was very heavy, and people needed to shovel it off of their roof to protect the roof from collapse. Well, like most kids on a snow day, we didn’t need a second invitation to go outside and play. It’s funny how that works. The plan was to go out an shovel off the roof, but while that did happen, there was a lot of playing in the snow too. Now mind you that the school district had decided that it was too cold, too snowy, and definitely the snow was too deep to have the kids walk the relatively short distance…five blocks in our case..to school, but we could spend half the day outside playing in the snow. I could see the problem if it had been blizzard conditions, but it wasn’t. Nevertheless, on a snow day, playing outside all day was far better than trudging off to school.
Deep snow is always extra fun, because it makes building a fort much easier, and believe me, that snow and this snow today…are deep. the snow is heavy and easily formed into walls or snowballs. Before long the fight was on. I’m sure that our parents loved hearing the screams of laughter as their daughters played happily out in the back yard. You see, sometimes, snow days are for adults too. Today for instance, my car could not begin to drive down the alley from my garage, and we will have to go our and dig snow later to get it out so it can be parked in from of the house…if I am to make it to work tomorrow. When my husband, Bob left for work this morning, his truck was dragging on the deep snow, and my car sits much lower than his truck. The snow day of yesteryear that comes to mind was the one where my dad got to stay home too. In fact, he city was even asking people to offer to transport people on snowmobiles in the event of an emergency.
That didn’t affect us in any way though, because we didn’t have snowmobiles, nor did we have need of one. We were busy outside trying to move the snow from one spot to another, so that we could move from point “a” to point “b” with a little bit of ease. And the only reason we were doing that was because we wanted to see just how deep the snow really was. We weren’t going anywhere…we had nowhere to go…because it was a snow day, and everyone knows that everything of any importance to a kid is closed on a snow day…especially the school.
Over the years, my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce have made use of boxes for lots of things. In fact, like most kids, they have used boxes in every way imaginable. They have taken the gifts out of the box and set the gift aside, before playing in and with the box. Boxes have been their forts, playhouse, hiding place, storage for their treasures, and many other uses. It is an age old tradition that kids have played in and with boxes for as long as there have been boxes big enough for kids to get into.
My daughter, Amy went so far as to try sitting in a shoe box that had been used to wrap a Christmas gift. She was too big for the box to say the least, but that didn’t phase her a bit. That box usage was the funniest one I can think of. Amy was always a teeny little girl, but she was still too big for that little shoe box. Nevertheless, watching Amy try to get into that box, knowing that it was too small, was very funny. She was so determined to get into it, and it never occurred to her that she was too big.
With all the uses kids have found for boxes, I am amazed that I can still be surprised by the use someone has come up with for a cardboard box. One of the greatest ideas I have ever seen is the coloring box. Now I don’t mean a box to keep your coloring supplies in. I mean that you put the kid in the box and Turk then loose with the crayons. They can’t color on the walls, because they are inside a box. It gives meaning to coloring inside the lines. We try to get our kids to color carefully so they work with them and work with them, but really until that kid is ready to color inside the lines.
The cool idea about coloring inside a box is that it doesn’t make a mess. The mess stays in the box, where it doesn’t mess up the paint on your walls, or the carpet on your floors. The other cool thing is that the kids have a great time, because coloring inside a box, and coloring the inside of a box are something totally different to do. It’s almost like coloring on the walls, except that they don’t get into trouble for it. It almost seems like a crazy thing to do, and after all, aren’t kids all about doing things that are crazy. As for the parents…well, they are heroes, because they found something for the kids to do that almost seemed like it was something that was not allowed. I mean, you wouldn’t let your kids write on the walls, but the walls of a box, is allowed. It makes the kids feel like they got away with something…well, maybe not, but it’s fun anyway.
As far as my nephew, Tucker is concerned, his big brother is the greatest friend ever. Riley is 11 years old and Tucker is 4 years old. To a little boy of 4, a brother who is all grown up like his big brother Riley…well, he is just the coolest person ever. Tucker and Riley live out in the country, and while Tucker has a couple of friends who live close enough to play sometimes and spend the night together once a week, Riley remains Tuckers closest friend and his hero big brother. And when Riley is staying at a friend’s house, Tucker really misses him a lot. It’s very hard for a little boy to understand why is big brother gets to go do so much, and he has to stay at home a lot more. He just wants to be big…like his brother. Seven years difference in age can make such a big difference in what is allowed and what isn’t.
When Riley is at home, he plays with Tucker quite a bit, so Tucker feels that loneliness a lot when Riley is away. And for a little guy, a weekend can easily seem like forever. I’m sure Tucker wonders why his brother doesn’t stay home with him more, but as we all know, the older a kid gets, the more friends they usually have, and they would much rather hang out with their friends than their little brother. Even if they do like playing with their little brother too.
But, when Riley is home, and it’s a snowy day…well that’s when the fun really begins. The boys get to go out side and do all the things boys really like on a snowy day. They could throw snowballs, or build a fort, or go for a sled ride, or build a snowman. It doesn’t really matter what they are doing, a snowy day is one of the best days for a kid, and for Tucker that kind of day is only made better by being able to spend it with his big brother, Riley.
Time will change things, of course, and Tucker will go to school and have more friends. He won’t always feel so lonely when his brother is playing with his own friends or at work, or college. Still, no matter where they are, or what they are doing, Riley will always be Tucker’s big brother, and…I think his hero too. There is just nothing like an older sibling who has been there for you. And someday, maybe Riley will look at Tucker, and think, “Hey, maybe you’re my hero too!”
As kids, we all thought snow was the coolest thing. We couldn’t wait for it to start so we could go out and play in it…provided it wasn’t a school day. If it was a school day, we all hoped that it would come down so hard that school would be cancelled. Funny how if you were in school and it snowed, you thought it was great fun to have indoor recess, but if school was out, you couldn’t wait to get outside to play. And it didn’t matter if it was early in the day or late at night, snow simply called for playing outside. It called out to you…”Come and build a snowman with me!!”
And once you got the snowman built…if you were blessed with a block full of kids, you were all set for a snowball fight. Of course, the first thing you needed to do is build a fort. You needed a place to hide from the incoming snowballs, because we all know what happens to that poor person who gets caught with out some form of cover. That person is really in a lot of trouble, because very soon, the snowballs are going to start flying, and they will not show mercy. It is nothing personal. It’s just the way the game is played. Survival of the fittest is the name of the game. Of course, it’s even more fun if that poor victim of the attack is your mom or aunt.
There were always so many ways to have fun in the snow when you were a kid. One of the most fun, of course, was throwing someone else in the snowbank…preferably a girl right. And when you get your three grandsons going against your only granddaughter…well, she is going in the snow. Even if she doesn’t want to mess up her hair and makeup, because she is going to the mall. Shai was a good sport when her cousins Chris and Josh, and her brother Caalab threw her in the snow, and rubbed snow in her face.
For kids, snow days are the best part of winter. Hoping for a day off from school to hang out with your friends and cut loose a little. And in my opinion, it’s just as well that we like snow when we are kids, because many of us really don’t later on. Maybe it’s the driving in it, or maybe we just get more thin skinned as we get older. My idea of a good thing to do on a snow day…sitting in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate, and reading a good book on my Kindle. Oh yeah!! That’s what I’m talking about.