Sunday, March 13, 2011
BOB BARKER - COWBOY UP!
Andy received this spring horse for Christmas in 1977 from his Grandma Braner. We were visiting the Illinois relatives for the holidays and he promptly named his new pal, Bob Barker. (Could it be we were watching way too much television at the time?)
We were living in Augusta, Georgia then so we loaded up this humongous/space hogging toy and carried him home to live with us temporarily. We were sure that like any toy, the interest would wane and he'd be living with some other deserving child in a year or so.
NOT SO! If you can imagine, THIS has become a family heirloom of sorts. Andy rode off into many sunsets on Bob Barker, dressed in cowboy boots, a 10 gallon hat and a diaper. When he out grew his trusty steed, Philip saddled up. Bob Barker trotted right along when we moved back to Illinois.
The boys grew and we moved to Arkansas a few years later. We boarded Bob at Grandma Braners attic and there he collected a little dust for a few years. As her Illinois great grandchildren came along he was pulled out of the attic, washed down and a new generation rode for miles.
We moved again and Barker continued to enjoy his life in his Illinois "pasture." Our boys were grown and in college and had no need of a spring horse.
After we moved to Dallas and our own grandchildren started arriving we decided that he should once again be welcomed back into our barn. We coaxed him away from the Illinois cousins and once again fashioned a stable for him in a room designed for the grand children's visits.
We have pictures! Hays, Maggie, Dax, Tiki, Gabby, Gracie, Mollie, and now Thompson have all heard the words "cowboy up." Each one learned to ride at about 18 months. Sometime next year a new baby girl will also feel the thrill of bouncing along the imaginary prairie. Counting the two little Illinois girl cousins, this horse has been ridden by 12 toddlers in his lifetime. How many horses have such history??
Today he even has a stable mate, Belle, a much larger stuffed filly that loves to race him around the track. They get along great! The two of them have even competed at the "Kentucky Derby" ridden by tiny Braner jockeys. It's a photo finish every time. Little eyes dance as they circle around the imaginary track in my kitchen.
I'm thinking that the real "Price is Right" Bob Barker should hear this story. It would surely give him a smile! These two "Barkers" may not resemble each other, but both instigated much joy in the past 34 years!