Hi-Ho-Silver Away

It’s wonderful how smells of food can trigger certain memories. After all these years, every time I smell popcorn, I am transported back in time to Saturday night and the picture show.

I was seven years old and I had waited all week to see my cowboy hero. I would enter the movie house and immediately the smells of spearmint gum, orange soda pop and hot buttery popcorn greeted me. My mouth still waters as I think of all those delightful smells housed inside that magical place.

I would quickly take the dime from my sweaty hand and place it on the counter. Then, I waited and watched with anticipation, as the boy beside the popcorn machine, slowly filled a paper bag with that captivating goodness. The extravagant butter soon soaked thru the paper bag, but I didn’t care.

Clutching my treasure in one hand and holding the orange soda pop in the other, I made my way inside to the front row. I would turn the seat upright and plop down, pretending I had just mounted my trusty steed. Then, I took that first bite of heaven and hugged the hot, salty, buttery popcorn bag close to my chest as the aromatic smell was rivaled by the crunchy goodness of this movie cuisine.

I watched in blissful silence as strains of the William Tell Overture, filled the dark room. I knew my hero waited in the wings. Suddenly, there he was astride his beautiful white horse named Silver. The black leather saddle with its silvery stitching was outlined against the powdery color of the horse, and it seemed to gleam in the dimly lit theatre. I can smell the leather of the saddle now if I will close my eyes and remember with my heart, that wonderful moment in childhood time.

I watched as the Lone Ranger along with his faithful companion, Tonto, rode into dangers that a small child could cover their eyes and not be a part of if they didn’t want to. I could feel the stinging dust from the trail they rode, and I could smell the gun smoke that came from the silver bullets fired from his gun.

Everyone knew when you found the silver bullets and someone mentioned a masked man it could only be one person, and that was the Lone Ranger. He rode across the silver screen with a hearty “Hi-Ho-Silver Away,” as I sat with orange circled mouth and popcorn buttered hands, totally mesmerized in cowboy paradise.

Sometimes it rained on Saturday and we couldn’t travel the black dirt road that turned to sticky, slippery slime. Our house sat at the end of the black lane, and if it rained, the only way out was by foot. On those rainy days, and on the other days that were not Saturday, I still enjoyed my childhood hero because I had a swing in a big Oak tree. That beautiful Oak carried a rusty chain with a wooden plank for a seat, and a small little girl to the land of “Let’s Pretend.”

I would pump my legs to go as high as I could, and then I would yell for all the mockingbirds and jackrabbits to hear, “Hi-Ho-Silver Away.” In my mind I became that tall masked man riding his horse of white and telling my Indian sidekick, Tonto,what I wanted cooked for our supper.

My mother was my Indian sidekick and I can hear her laughter when I would yell, “Tonto, we will have beans for our supper tonight.”

She would reply, as mothers do, “Okay, Lone Ranger, they’ll be ready when you are.”

I can still smell the wonderful aroma of fresh biscuits and a pot of simmering red beans. I can taste the soft beans cooked to perfection over a burner on our old kerosene stove. The biscuits were home made and drowned in home churned butter. My mom was the best Indian sidekick a little cowgirl could ever have.

That was long ago and far away, but every time I smell buttery popcorn or taste hot biscuits soaking in soft red beans, that sweet memory returns.

It will forever be stamped on the heart of this Lone Ranger, and under my breath I thankfully whisper, “Hi-Ho-Silver Away.”


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