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When I was a boy, back in the Bronze Age, or better known as the 1950’s and early ‘60’s, there was a TV Western show called Cheyenne. It starred Clint Walker as Cheyenne and ran from 1957-1962. At the time, I rarely saw the show, but in the mid ‘60’s I was able to watch the reruns and I became fascinated with the show and the Cheyenne character.
I was without a father, and role models were difficult to find in my family or with the men around me. However, Cheyenne embodied all of the positive male qualities a boy could admire. He was brave, big, strong, and regardless of his personal safety or loss, he would always do the honorable thing. I came to believe that a man should act like the Cheyenne character. I had no illusions, I knew Clint Walker was just an actor and Cheyenne was just a fictional character. Still and all, what the character stood for was honor, integrity, courage, discipline and self-sacrifice.
As a wild teenager, I was not anything like the Cheyenne character. As I entered my 20’s I again was fortunate enough to see the Cheyenne show return to reruns. It brought back the memories of my boyhood and rekindled my desire to be like the character. For nearly 40 years, I have tried my best to become a man of honor and integrity, a man with courage, discipline and compassion for others. The compassion for others is still a weak point with me, but I am working on it.
My wife and I have been married for twelve years. This is not my first marriage. From my two previous marriages I have three lovely daughters. They are 35, 24, and 19. All three are grown and gone from the nest. Although my current wife and I tried for years to have a baby, the stork avoided us like the plague. Then last year, we unexpectedly had a baby boy. He is now 7 months old.
My wife is from India, and interestingly, she has always felt a very strong connection with the Northern Plains Indians of North America, specially the Lakota Sioux and the Cheyenne tribes. She particularly liked the Cheyenne and loved that their name means; ‘True Human Being’. When we were looking for a name for our baby, I told my wife about the TV character and how much I admired him. She liked the name as well and we decided to call the boy Cheyenne. We almost picked Lakota, but the name Cheyenne won out in the end.
I am an American citizen originally from Canada, and my wife is also an American citizen, though originally from India. This is going to cause our son to have some interesting conversations as he grows up. He is truly an American Indian. One can imagine his teachers and friends asking about his ancestry. Those who hear his name will assume he is an American Indian from the Cheyenne tribe and will be surprised and amused when he reveals his mother is actually from India and not Wyoming. I hope the boy has a good sense of humor. I wonder how the college admissions boards will look at his applications. Will his education be out-sourced? These and other important questions will arise because we chose the name Cheyenne; Won’t it be interesting to see how he turns out?
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