By Eilene Lyon
The Slide Years is a series in which I select an image my dad took from 1957-1982 with Kodachrome slide film, then I write a stream-of-consciousness essay – a sort of mini-memoir.
The year is 1967 and we’re celebrating Christmas at my Smith grandparents’ home in Little Rock, Arkansas, the city I’d been born in six years earlier. Since that time, I’d lived in France and Fort Lee (Petersburg), Richmond, and Woodbridge, Virginia.
Little brother is clearly thrilled with the Roy Rogers get-up, though I doubt he’d ever seen a western by that point in time. There are all kinds of goodies stacked up around Grandma and Grandpa’s living room. I’m sure they were practically apoplectic at the mess three kids could make of their super-tidy house.
The cowboy outfit was probably quickly outgrown, but the rifle…that stuck around a very long time. It was completely non-functional – not even a cap gun. But it did have a slide action and a trigger. It looked real and that was good enough for a lot of fun playing Cowboys and Indians or War Games.
One of my gifts you can see in this photo is called Gloppy. I don’t remember a thing about it, but it does sound like the sort of messy plaything a little kid would cherish. Even better is the Betty Crocker Baking Kit. I do recall having an Easy Bake Oven as a kid, baking the teensiest of cakes using nothing more than the heat generated by a standard incandescent light bulb.
Really, though, the best gifts I see lying on the floor and propped up against a chair are Zebco fishing rods. All three of us got one of those. It had the simplest of thumb-reels for casting (or not). Grandpa Smith took us all out to the large man-made pond in front of the Arkansas state capitol building to learn that most basic of outdoor sports…drowning worms.