My daughter-in-law, Anne, gave me my very own personal face mask. It is appropriately made in a Green Bay Packer patterned fabric.

When I tried it on for size, I thought back many years ago when I would slip a bandanna over my face when playing cowboys and Indians. I would then be playing the part of a bank robber. I never dreamed that years later, I might be putting on a face mask, entering a bank and going up to the teller and asking for money. Well folks, that day is now here.

I don’t plan to wear the mask around the house, in my yard, in the car, in my son’s house or places where I can keep an appropriate distance from others. I will probably wear it in a store or other places where it will be more crowded. I guess you do what you have to do to escape the coronavirus.

Let’s talk about those cowboys and Indians games that I used to play with Bill Kruse, a childhood friend, that lived just two doors south of me on Market Street in downtown DeForest.

It should have been more appropriately called ‘cowboys’ because there were no Indians involved in our games. Before we started we would go through the neighborhood to see if anyone wanted to join in the game. Sometimes Roger Weichman and Sharron Weichman would join in, and once in a while, Neal Reigstad would play. Sometimes Fred Sherman would be around and would join us.

We would set the scene based on a recent western movie that we had seen at the Norway Theatre. The vacant railroad cars on the railroad siding tracks across Market Street would be included. The Garden Club Park was the place where many “gun” fights took place around and in the flowering crab trees. The tractors and machinery in the implement yard were included, as well as the pole yard for the WP&L Co.

We would run around the houses on Market Street and through the back yards. Vacant garages were good hiding places and there was a shed behind Kruse’s with boards and empty boxes that we could arrange into a general store, a bank or saloon. Of course we had to include the coal bins behind the co-op as they were the mountains to scale.

Before the game started, each player would name the character they were playing. Quite often we were all good guys chasing imaginary bad guys. When Fred Sherman played he always wanted to be the bad guy. The games would usually run about a half hour to an hour. Some lasted well over an hour. The length depended on how hot it was that day.

We’d end the days off with a tall cold glass of Kool-Aid. Sometimes one of the parents would give us enough money so we could go the Farness & Johnson IGA Store and buy Popsicles. We had some amazing adventures through our imaginations on those summer days in downtown DeForest many years ago.

Dick Emerson is the former publisher of the DeForest Times-Tribune.

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