Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Yippee Ki Yay!
Recently I was checking my e-mail and a news article caught my attention. It said: “TV Horse to be Auctioned.” Since I love horses and was seriously trying to avoid doing any real work I clicked on it, wondering what horse would be for sale. There are no TV shows with horses. Imagine my surprise when a picture of a stuffed Trigger came up on the screen. Memories of my childhood in the sixties, sitting in front of a black and white television watching Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ride the prairie and catch the bad guys, flooded through me.
I adored Trigger (Roy’s glorious palomino), Buttermilk (Dale’s buckskin horse) and Bullet (the German Shepherd) – they were stars! Every kid wanted a horse like Trigger, one that was smart and beautiful. I was no exception. When we played cowboys I pretended to ride Trigger – dashing across the plains, righting wrongs and winning because back then the good guys always won. It was from stars like Roy and Dale that most of my generation developed a love of the West and a sense of honor. Nostalgia and some tears clouded my eyes as I read the story.
When Trigger died, Roy (who really loved that horse) had him stuffed. I know, it sounds morbid and unfair to the memory of the animal but I believe Roy did it for us. He preserved Trigger as a memorial, allowing my generation to see the horse we all loved. The Roy Rogers Museum also had Buttermilk, Trigger Jr. and Bullet preserved on display. Evidently Roy and Dale’s children no longer wanted to run the museum and were closing it. They were left with these icons, not knowing what to do with them.
The article said the children offered the stuffed animals to museums but, due to economic problems, no institution wanted them. I didn’t understand why. The article did not mention the Smithsonian but surely it should have jumped at the chance to have them! There are already plenty of stuffed animals at the Smithsonian, what are four more? I grew indignant. These animals were stars and part of our national heritage! We should want them! But no, Trigger and the rest were rejected. I sat there fuming about Julia Child’s kitchen and Archie Bunker’s chair at the Smithsonian – how could those compare to Trigger? And, as usual, my first thought was “I am going to send a letter, expressing disbelief over the government’s stupidity…” Then I calmed down. What was the use? It’s already done. Once again, unlike the days in the sixties and seventies when people actually banded together for a cause, I knew I’d be the lone Ranger if I expressed an opinion. That depressed me. No one seemed to care about things any more; we just blindly accept decisions and live our little lives with no thought to the nation as a whole. Ok, so enough preaching…Peace man…
Any way, to continue - Trigger, Buttermilk, Trigger Jr. and Bullet will be auctioned July 14th and 15th by Christies. I am sure they will bring a large amount at the auction, more than I have squirreled away in my cookie jar (I actually thought about it for a minute, mmm where would a rearing horse look good in the house?) They will probably go to separate owners, splitting them up forever. A sad thing.
Then I noticed the comments on the story and I just had to read them. Maybe there was a movement to save them! What I read surprised me even more. The main comment was that the animals should just be buried. Others (I am sure the Beanie Baby generation – talk about stuffed animals) told me and my generation to get over it, our time was passed and no one cared what happened to moth-eaten…I clicked it off before I responded and started an Internet War. Roy wouldn’t have liked that.
Anyway, I hope someone in my generation buys them. After all, if you spend that much money on buying stuffed animals, you’re going to take care of them, right? So, as a country we lost our chance to keep them, but I still have my memories: a beautiful palomino with a handsome cowboy riding the plains forever. Happy Trails!
Do you have fond childhood memories? Are there things you would want to preserve for future generations that meant a lot to you when you were a child? Better yet, want to join a movement…?