Will Gets a Handle
By Dick "Colorado" Oakes
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Here is a tale of a good friend of mine.
Born as an Okie in thirty-and-nine,
He skipped off to Texas, the Lone Star State,
Taking his scooter, his trike, and a skate.
He learned to play marbles, and mumblty-peg,
And kick-the-can, too, but mostly would beg
To see the Saturday matinee screen,
Where he could watch Tim, and Hoppy, and Gene.
He grew up with Audie, Eddie, and Roy.
All taught him to be a man as a boy.
Wild Bill was there, as were Sunset, and Crash,
And Dusty, and Rocky, and Johnny, and Lash.
They were his heroes and role models, too.
Along with their sidekicks, they pulled him through
Those earlier years when values we get,
And who we become is already set.
Somewhere around nineteen-sixty-and-five,
My friend Will Lacey did somehow contrive
To come to the California scene
(to be close to Hoppy, and Roy, and Gene?).
Another ten years would pass before he
Moved to the Rancho known as Simi.
He'd come "home," he knew, surrounded by
Corigan's, Iverson's, Spahn's, and Big Sky --
Ranches where B-Western movies held sway,
And cliff-hangers, too, would see light of day;
Where a cowboy hero would kiss his horse
And ride off into the sunset, of course!
That's not the end of the story for us.
You see, Will's a poet emeritus.
He writes of B-Westerns in verses that rhyme,
And takes us back to a happier time,
When heroes, sidekicks, and heroines, too,
Gave their all for our red, white, and blue.
When li'l buckaroos and li'l buckarettes
Were steeped in the lore and the code of the West.
He joined with the Trail Riders of the West.
Needed a "handle" they'd know him by best . . .
"Cherokee Slim" he was known after that
(Seemed a lot better than "Kiowa Fat").
by Dick "Colorado" Oakes - April 21, 1995
THE PHANTOM SIDEKICK
A little side note . . . well, okay, a little bottom note:
Will Lacey first joined the Trail Riders of the West in Simi Valley, California, as "Kiowa Slim." A short time later, he found out that he actually did have some Native American ancestry and changed his handle to "Cherokee Slim." Will was born on May 24, 1939, a little over six months before I broke my own shell. My old friend, Will "Cherokee Slim" Lacey, went thataway on August 4, 1997, having succumbed to CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia). To his long-time pardner, "Hiya" Wilma Irvine, and all his good friends and relatives still ridin' the West, I dedicate this page. --Dick "Colorado" Oakes, The Phantom Sidekick