With Halloween quickly approaching I am frantically trying to figure out what costume I will wear as I pass out candy. I don’t want it to be too frightening, but I will want something that will work for the grownup party Friday night.
When I was a little girl, my mother always wanted me to dress up like a cowgirl. One year she said I could be a barrel racer, and the next I could be the rodeo queen.
“Mother,” I always responded, “This will be the most boring costume because everybody dresses that way around here every other day of the year.”
“Well, what about being a zombie cowgirl?” she asked.
It was only years later that I realized my mother just didn’t have the Halloween costume gene.
Also, she was cheap.
One thing I don’t like to do is just head down to Wal Mart and buy a prepackaged costume. I am okay buying individual components like a Lady Godiva wig or stuffed parrot to go on my shoulder as part of my parrot costume.
Last year, I purchased a beard about two feet long, and I never used it. Because I just couldn’t decide if I wanted to be one of those Duck Dynasty guys or a member of Z.Z. Top, I threw the beard in the box and forgot about it.
As a semi/pseudo spokesperson for the town, I decided that any costume I wear should reflect Cody and Park County.
Therefore when I went through the box this morning and came across the beard, I tried to figure out who would let his beard grow out like that.
That’s when it came to me.
This year I am going to be Liver Eating Johnston.
The locals know who I am talking about, but those of you who have not been to Cody are probably wondering who I’m talking about.
Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnston was a mountain man who lived in the West in the mid-1880s. According to legend, his American Indian wife was killed and he himself was the target of many attempts on his life by native peoples.
Johnston made peace with the tribes and embarked on a career as a scout, trapper hunter and more in the West, mainly Wyoming and Montana. He died in 1900 and was buried in California.
When a California highway was slated to go right through the veteran’s cemetery where Johnston was buried, a group of seventh graders in Los Angeles began a campaign to have his remains reinterred in a place that seemed to better reflect this man’s life.
As a result, in 1974 Johnston was buried at Old Trail Town on the original downtown Cody City site. You can see his grave and read about him on the wall of one of the homesteader cabins.
If you are thinking that this sounds a lot like the Jeremiah Johnston immortalized by Robert Redford in a movie, you are right on the money. In fact, Redford was an honorary pallbearer at the Cody ceremony.
If you see me walking around town Thursday night, please be sure to say hello.
And if you happen to speak to Robert Redford, tell him I have risen from the grave and am looking for him.
Until next time, I tricking and treating in Buffalo Bill and Jeremiah Johnston country!