Playtime Inspired by the TV Cowboys

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OK, I have to confess that I am getting a huge kick out of everyone's comments about the TV cowboys of the '50s and early '60s, and their influence in the kids of their era.

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A few recollections from my own kidhood:

* Endless games of cowboys & Indians. Or, the alternative, good guys & bad guys.

* The decision on whether to name our first pony Trigger, after Roy's horse, or Buttermilk, after Dale's. (Buttermilk won.)

* The hoarding of Hopalong Cassidy boxtops and milk-carton tabs, which were "sent in" (to some mysterious place) to receive Hoppy prizes.

* The opening bars of "The William Tell Overture," signaling the start of the Lone Ranger's spot in the Saturday TV show lineup. ("A fiery horse in a cloud of dust, and a hearty 'hi-yo, SIL-ver!'")

* The Christmas wish list that invariably included such items as cowboy boots, cap-gun six-shooters, cowboy-TV-theme board games, and the like. Our parents stayed up until the wee hours of Christmas Eve, putting a Western town set together for us under the guise of Santa.

* The chance to express favorites with choice of school lunch box. Would I "go girl," and choose a Dale Evans lunch box? Stick with horses, and get a Fury lunch box? Take a more grown-up approach, and opt for the "Bonanza" characters? (And speaking of which, who was YOUR dreamboat Cartwright brother?)