Friday, August 04, 2006

Little Chief – part 2

Little Chief - part 1

by Tom Gaylord

Another bit of fallout from her shop were the airguns that passed through. Since they looked like guns to the widows, they came along with the rest of the estate property. Grandma had a much harder time selling them, so I often got to play with them and even to keep them for a while. A good Daisy BB gun would fetch all of fifty cents or so, and we would wait a year or more for it to sell, so there was always a nice selection of BB guns for me to enjoy. Like I said, I had no idea at the time what a perfectly wonderful life I was enjoying.

As kids, we played lots of different games, buy I suppose the best of them had to be cowboys and Indians. Almost every kid wanted to be a cowboy, with most claiming to be Wyatt Earp or Wild Bill Hickock. I, on the other hand, preferred to be an Indian for some reason. I suppose my grandmother's shop had something to do with the choice.

While we rarely had anything cowboy-related, we were in Ohio, which has a very rich Indian tradition. There were always lots of Indian artifacts in the store. I got to see arrowheads, moccasins, tobacco pouches, bows and arrows and sometimes even ceremonial dress items. I couldn't explain why these things fascinated me, but they did. Whenever I would go to the cinema and watch the cowboy reels, I knew the fights with the Indians were fake. If cowboys were such good fighters, why did General Custer get wiped out at the Little Big Horn? That was something my friends could never tell me.

I even had an Indian outfit that my mother made for me. It’s the one on the picture The clothes were made of real buckskin which my grandmother donated from her shop and the headdress was made of turkey feathers with the tips dyed black to look like eagle feathers. I was so proud of that outfit because I looked more like an Indian chief than any of my friends looked like the cowboys they were trying to be. At best all they had was an old fedora hat that someone had remodeled to look like a western Stetson.

When we played, we carried toy guns or BB guns, if we had them, although there was a strict rule that all BB guns had to be unloaded and never cocked. That rule was sanctioned by the mothers who would not hesitate to break up the game if they saw an infraction. Supposedly a kid had caught a BB in the cheek years before, which lead to the strict enforcement of the rule.


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