Tuesday, November 10, 2009


my garden's autumn exuberance

When I was three, I would answer only to “Roy Rogers.” I’m told this went on for many months. I watched the black and white television show with my grandfather and his enthusiasm was contagious. My sense of adventure piqued, my imagination captured, I wanted to ride fast and right injustices.

My son Joe liked to pretend to be The Lone Ranger. He had a red hat and I made him mask after mask (they tended to rip when he flung them off). He loved everything to do with The Lone Ranger, loved the silver guns, loved the little figurines we found for him.

When Joe’s obsession began, I made him a play horse (these were formerly known as hobby horses) by taking an inch thick dowel and attaching a hand drawn, sewn and stuffed horse’s head to it. I made the horse head out of some leftover brown wool
plaid fabric. Plaid? Yes, you see it was the only fabric I had on hand that even approached horse color and I had to get it finished during nap time. When people questioned my choice of fabric, I said he was a “horse of a different color.” I attached button eyes and a felt tongue a yarn mane and made reins out of cording. The idea was that the child would stand astride the dowel, hold the reins and run, pretending to gallop.

the original Joseph Nebbia as The Lone Ranger
Joe had a lot of fun with this, but we eventually got him a full-bodied horse. He loved this, too.
This week, Joe’s sons Joey and Jack came to visit. I heard them on the porch and opened the door. Both boys wore black cowboy hats. Jack took his off immediately and wanted to “play cars.” But Joey informed me that he was “The Lone Ranger.” My heart skipped a beat!
Joey sat on the step leading to the family room and told me all about The Lone Ranger. “He has golden guns, (he meant silver).”
“What’s his horse’s name?”

This generation's Lone Ranger... eating flour-- just plain flour (which he confides he LOVES) while we mixed up dinner's bread dough.
“Silver and he goes really fast on his horse and gets the bad guy.
To this comment, Jack piped up to say, “Mommy at barn.” (I babysit while their mother teaches a class, then rides and takes care of a few horses at a barn near her school). Jack’s eyes were shining with love for his mommy.
Joey thought about this. “Mommy rides horses just like The Lone Ranger. Hey Grannie, want to look for bad guys with me?” Jack laughing at the answering machine.
Joey likes to sneak around the downstairs looking under the table and behind the curtains, but it bores Jack. (I wonder why?) I asked Jack if he wanted to come with us. “No,” says Jack, “have phone?” he asked. “Sure,” I said. What he does is push the answering machine button. When it says, “Not answering calls.” He laughs – a big, free, amused giggle. His laughing makes Joey and I laugh. Jack entertaining The Lone Ranger.

Jack loves to make people laugh and Joey loves to laugh. I predict a lifelong friendship.
Then Val and Clare dropped by. Jack is tender and careful with the baby, and Joey was trembling with excitement. He made a snorting noise and she smiled (yes she’s already smiling and cooing) and so he kept on snorting for a good while. “She likes me!” Joey declared that Clare was “his favorite girl in the whole wide world.” Clare Vienne
After a little bit Karl dropped by! I had prepared Joey for this possibility because seeing his Uncle Karl usually sends Joey into a frenzy of joy. “If Uncle Karl comes over, I want you to try to stay calm,” I advised. Joey started bouncing up and down, “When I see him, I’m going to SCREAM!” That wasn’t what I had in mind, so I said, “No, try saying, “Hi Uncle Karl, I’m the Lone Ranger.” Do you know, Joey tried this approach and then roped Karl into looking for the Lone Ranger’s enemies which he was kind enough to do despite the pile of homework he had pending. After his nap, little Jack took this picture of Uncle Karl. True, I helped him, but still...
I think it is their exuberance, their delight in things little and important that is so completely charming.


  1. It's interesting. I like your story, and I believed that you had a wonderful time with your family.

  2. I still like "Aunt Tumbleweed" but NOOOooooOOoo. Joey is the creative mastermind. Nothing else will do.

  3. Very sweet story, wonderful photo's and I too had a stick horse as a child. This was fun to read....


    PS....I still can't figure out how to post with my name or how to add you to my toolbar. Do you have a button on Val's blog?