Even today, I envy my mom’s childhood, for her stories about life in Hotchkiss, Colorado sounded like something straight out of a western movie. During the 1940’s, my grandparents, my mama, Aunt Jan, and my Aunt Barbara lived in a log cabin on their ranch out on Allen’s Mesa; the locals called it that since so many of the Allen family lived in the area. Mama would tell us how in the evenings the family would sit in the living room and listen to the radio, and I can still hear her laugh as she explained it was like watching TV without the picture. The girls were expected to be quiet as the family would listen to their favorite stories.
As a girl, she loved to hear those radio stories, especially about Dale Evans and Roy Rogers. Her neighbor and best friend Tommy, and my mom would often take their horses out and pretend they were these two legendary western characters. They chased bank robbers, and once they even tried to make a daring escape.
This daring duo were held at bay by a notorious gang of thieves that had them pinned in a nearby barn. Mom had just had the rare opportunity of watching a Dale Evans and Roy Roger’s movie at a local movie house. In the show, one of the heroes jumps from the loft of a barn onto an awaiting horse. Mom thought it would be a piece of cake to follow suit. She instructed Tommy to hold the reins of her horse. She carefully looked below from the loft of the barn, took aim, and jumped, while hoping she would land safely on her horse. Unfortunately, the escape did not go as planned. She missed her horse and sprained her ankle. The two also knew they would be in a heap of trouble if their folks discovered what they had done.
Tommy helped mom into the saddle, and the two rode slowly home, hatching a story about how mom had hurt her ankle. Finally, the two decided to tell how mom’s horse was spooked by a bird, and the horse reared and threw mom from her saddle. Although the two mischief makers stuck to their stories, I guess the folks never did quite buy into their tale! Mama and her buddy, Tommy often found themselves in the middle of some kind of trouble, but I will save those stories for another day!