Happy Trails, Doolin to Victorville
By Catherine Lilbit Devine © August 18, 2006
On the West Coast of Ireland, in the picture perfect village of Doolin, there is a Bodhran player with a passion for something other than his music. Though the passion for his traditional Bodhran playing is plainly evident, it is his passion for one of America's iconic Cowboys that brought Lester, Chris, Casey & I together at McGann's Pub on a rainy Saturday July evening.
"Are ya real Cowboys?" was his first question. Without waiting for an answer, he fired off his second "Did you know Roy Rogers?" He set his Bodhran aside and came to join us. He was eager to talk with us about his childhood hero. "I sent him a letter when I was eight to tell him how much he meant to me but I never heard back." he stated. "So I sent another letter when I was eighteen, telling him that I was a better man because of what he had taught, again with no reply", he said with a chuckle. He talked about watching Roy on the television set in his small parlor, ran off an amazing litany of facts concerning Roy Rogers and was not the least bit ashamed to admit that he knew little about Dale Evans. "She was a pretty colleen, but Roy was my focus", he said "after all, I wanted to grow up to be just like him."
His break over, he got up to return to playing but before he left he asked us to take one more letter to his hero. "I know he has passed, but maybe it would mean something to his relations." he said solemnly. Casey agreed to hand carry the letter to Cheryl Rogers Burnett, much to Lester's delight. After the next set, he came back holding a letter he had written on the back of his grocery list and wearing the look of a child awakening on Christmas morn to find his fondest wish had been delivered. Lester named his dog, Roy and his car Trigger. I would like to think Roy would find pleasure in that tidbit.
As the three of us headed for the door, the musicians broke into Happy Trails and Lester blew me a kiss. We walked back to our lodgings talking about an Irish Bodhran player, his 58 years of loyalty and his tenacity of spirit. The note was tucked safely in Casey's shirt pocket. He will deliver it to Cheryl Rogers Barnett and once again close the circle between an Irishman and his Silver screen hero. For us, it once again proves that "Cowboy" is known and revered in some of the most extraordinary, unexpected places we travel. Some where tonight there is another "Cowboy" tucking away his Bodhran, finishing his pint and heading down the trail with "Roy" trotting at his side.