Friday, June 20, 2014

I Miss Billy The Kid

I doubt I will ever understand why I sometimes wake up with certain songs or phrases in my mind. A few days ago it was Billy Dean's 1992 hit I Miss Billy The Kid. The song has stuck with me, cropping up once or twice a day since. Then this morning I heard it on the radio. That got my attention. It must mean I am supposed to blog about it.


I believe it was March, 1993 when we planned our trip to the Grand Canyon. Bud had long wanted to see Lincoln County New Mexico, the site of the famous Lincoln County War in the late 1870's so we went there on the way. I remember stopping at one Billy the Kid tourist trap where they were capitalizing on both the Kid and Billy Dean's song popularity. We visited the cemetery where Billy was supposedly buried. Bud is pictured above next to the grave. It was enclosed because so many people were chipping pieces off the stones as souvenirs.

We toured the old courthouse in Lincoln to see first hand where Billy had escaped from as well as some other locations in the town before journeying on to Arizona, visiting my Aunt Leona in Punkin Center (Tonto Basin) before heading for the Grand Canyon. It was a great trip.

But back to the song:

Bud wasn't the only one who grew up playing Cowboys and Indians. Here I am at the tender age of three and a half(?) with my brother Ron riding one (saw) horse while our neighbor Norman Firkins sits astride another. Normie was dressed a little better for the part than Ron and I were. "Strapped on my holster low across my hips; two Colt .45's with white plastic grips, and I'd head West through our neighborhood."


Before my little brother came along for my sister and me to dress up and act out the parts we assigned him for our plays, Betty and I played cowboys a lot - probably more than dolls and tea parties. We had our various camps around the farm - 'Three Cornered Camp', 'Sunset Hill' and of course the 'Sheriff's Office' which was in the wash house. I would insist on being the West's first woman sheriff - but with a twist - I was in cahoots with the bad guys. (I've never quite decided what that said about me and my imagination.)
"These days I don't know whose side to be on. There's such a thin line between right and wrong. I live and learn, do the best that I can."

I imagine most of the neighborhood kids played Cowboys and Indians. They could have been Normie, Ronnie, Sammie, Eddie, Terry, Freddie or Bobby The Kid - no Billy's that I remember.

"I miss Billy the Kid, the times that he had, the life that he lived. I guess he must've got caught, his innocence lost. Lord, I wonder where he is. I miss Billy the Kid."

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