At age 9, I was a bit of a tomboy. I would much rather climb a tree or grub for worms than dress in frillies but my Mom had other thoughts on the subject, probably because she too had been a tom boy when she was young and thought it had not helped her any. As I got older I wondered any what?
On June 30th, I remember the date because I was so excited that my parents were taking us to Las Vegas, New Mexico for the Cowboy Rough Rider Days roundup on July 4th. I was preparing for the trip by pretending how to rope the dog, an unfortunate cocker spaniel named Lady and at one point actually had her hog tied. Of course I let her go when she got upset. But it sure was fun trying to be a cowgirl even if it was in the enclosure of an urban backyard. I also took my Dad's fountain permanent pen ink bottle and made good use of a cotton ball as a brand and left a blue brand of no discernable form on the blonde cockers hind quarter.
I had been warned not to get the boys next door involved in any trouble because Freddy's mother had complained to my Mom about how the boys always came home dirty after a morning spent in our backyard and she was a fussy housekeeper. So fussy in fact that the boys, Freddy and his cousin Warren the wimp, had to take off their shoes, socks, and clothes at the back door every time they went in the house. No wonder they took bathroom breaks in the garden. So when I insisted that we play "cowboy" and they could be the cattle....well they balked. I pressed on, not that I was pushy or anything and yeah that hasn't changed in all these years hence. I got Warren down on the ground and proceeded to hog tie his feet and arms....but at nine I was neither fast, nor accurate with knots and he got away. When I got up.....well I guess the boys had just had it with my being "in charge" and they took me to the weeping willow tree in the center of the yard.
They then proceeded to lash me to the tree. I thought it was a great game and even helped them. That is until they had tied the last knot and walked out of the backyard. At first, I thought they were just joking. Then I thought they were waiting for awhile or maybe had made the trip inside to go to the bathroom. I mean that always took awhile with the undressing and dressing again. So I didn't panic until my arm went to sleep from the rope and I was getting tired of being a captive of the tree.
Back then, we were not required to gift wrap garbage like we do now. We also did not have to take it to the street but rather, the garbage man came to where the cans were. Luckily, ours were in the side yard with only a gate separating me from rescue. And there he was my knight in filthy overalls, big ole cowboy hat and a grin from ear to ear. "Looks like you need some help, little lady", says this darling of the trash truck. He untied the knots and I have never been so happy to see anyone in the refuse business in my life. Nice man, great rescue, bad boys, bad little girl......didn't tell my parents, spent most of the summer playing dolls in the house.
My Mom had no idea how I could go from being a backyardigan into an inside and quiet player but I did and she was very happy that I shaped up. Yeah until I was 10.