Cowboy Thrill Rides Again In ‘True Grit’

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 31, 2011

Mothers of America are heeding Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, not letting their babies grow up to be cowboys. Cub Scouts visited the newspaper this week, and the old editor quizzed them about their hopes and dreams and explained the wild, fast life of a newspaperman.
Not one wanted to be a cowboy. Four of seven now want to be newspaper editors.
I issued them all official reporter pads and made them deputy journalists. This newspaper’s future is secure.
As a boy, I wanted to be a cowboy. As an adult, I still do. My three sons all wore cowboy boots and hats and chaps. They crooned Willie Nelson songs with me, but I had to fudge a little to explain what “girls of the night” are.
Elizabeth and I went to see “True Grit” over the weekend. The theater was predominately gray-haired men; average age 60. Some men came alone, some with their buddies to see the remake of the John Wayne movie of their youth. Their prissy wives deigned to stay at home, no doubt indignant about the era when unwashed men roped cows and hanged rustlers. Not my Elizabeth. She liked the movie too.
Mine was the generation that dreamed of being cowboys, sleeping under the stars with the herd and riding in the saddle through the dust and mud.
“You get shot!” one of the Cub Scouts warned me.
Not if you’re faster on the draw …
Once there was nothing more glamorous, more exciting than being a cowboy. Then came NASA. The thrill of the Old West, like Sheriff Woody, was supplanted by Buzz Lightyear. Now spacemen are off the A-list too. Kids these days want to be billionaire bankers, investment brokers and inventors. That’s where the action is. They know far more about Bill Gates than Buffalo Bill Cody, more about Steve Jobs than Wild Bill Hickok …