Writer recalls childhood heroic calling

The Lone Ranger and my dad were my two heroes when I was in Grade 1 in Edmonton.

The Lone Ranger and my dad were my two heroes when I was in Grade 1 in Edmonton. The William Tell Overture was the music that accompanied my imagination in the vivid scenes of the Lone Ranger, Tonto and myself riding horseback through the Mesquite Hills in pursuit of the bad guys.

Although I could not have expressed it in precise philosophical terms at the time, I do recall a general sense of purpose or mission in these phantasmagoric adventures.

My dad was a penitentiary officer who in my youthful worldview provided security, stability and comfort to my family and my neighbourhood.

On a snowy day in early winter, I was halfway home from school when I witnessed a small-scale criminal event. Two older kids were roughing up a younger and much smaller boy in a red snowsuit. I recognized the victim as a classmate and immediately heard the William Tell Overture.

This was my first call to duty and backup was not available.

WWTLRD?

I did remember that my black-and-white training films courtesy of The Lone Ranger TV show consistently demonstrated that offense was the best defence so I mounted up and attacked without plan or skill. As I charged towards them, the bullies must have decided that getting home in time for supper was more important than taking on this robust and obviously dedicated defender of the oppressed.

A few things became entrenched in my psyche that day. Number one – odds are less relevant than they appear to be. Number two – if you must fight, fight for a cause. Number three – how you act defines who you are.

Don Ahlquist

Gull Lake

 

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