Originally posted April 28, 2013
A tense moment in The Rifleman
He had waited until 6:30 for HIS show to come on - The Rifleman.
I had never seen it. I had never heard of it, my understanding of Westerns gleaned from Florence's critiques of bus driving styles and Bucko's Cowboy Lands.
But my father pulled up his chair close to the new flat screen TV that my sister had managed to incorporate into his life from 3,000 miles away, and watched with the rapture of a little boy.
And then I remembered something. A conversation had when he was speaking in more sentences than the few dozen he now repeated over and over again.
Amidst the poverty and the brutal unhappiness, both at home and on the streets of the Lower East Side, every once in a while, an extra nickel would be found and the kids would race off to the Saturday matinee, probably on Delancey Street.
There, beloved heroes fought favorite villains, the cheers and boos of hundreds of exhausted, usually hungry, tough little kids filling the beat-up old theater. My father told me that every time the bad guy started sneaking up on their cowboy, they'd all shout, "Look behind you, Cowboy Hoot!!"
I telephoned him, seeing if I could shake loose from the mind slowly fading away, more of those days. But, other than the names of the cowboys he loved and the cost of admission, there wasn't much left.
Before ringing off, his growing impatience and panic for Meals-On-Wheels to arrive now crowding our conversation, I told him I had never seen The Rifleman until I came to visit him.
"I'm wondering when they are going to run out of plot. Awful lot of activity in that quiet little town," he said and then hung up to wait for lunch to be delivered.
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Sunday Memories: The Intimacy Of Men
And What Did My Sister Do On Her Birthday!
Sunday Memories: Stairway To Heaven