Friday, September 26, 2014

Matt, Kitty, Doc, & Chester-Saturday Night Friends

Most every Saturday night when growing up in the country, my cousin and I slept over at our grandmother's house. One of our aunt's lived there too. Lucky for us, she never married. On those Saturday nights, cushions were removed from the sofa in the living room so we could pull our bed out.
It might as well have been a sleepover at the Waldorf Astoria. We felt like royalty on that sofa in our flannel nightgowns covered in warm blankets with puffy pillows. It was the perfect night for a sleep over because it was the best night for TV watching-starting with The Lawrence Welk Show. Our grandmother and aunt loved that show and to be honest, so did we-from the Lennon Sisters to Myron Florin, Bobby Burgess to the Champagne Lady herself, Alice Lon. But that was just a warm-up to the main event of the evening-Gunsmoke.
I can still hear Marshal Matt Dillon's spurs as he made his way along the boardwalk to the Long Branch Saloon to see Miss Kitty. I always thought Matt and Miss Kitty liked each other. I always though they'd get married. They never did. Matt Dillon was tall and handsome, always tipping his hat to the ladies yet ready to defend Dodge City from the bad guys. Miss Kitty was beautiful. Of course she had the most perfect beauty mark on the right side of her face and her long, fancy dresses made of exquisite fabrics were to die for as were her feathered hats and jewels. When she worried about Matt getting shot, so did I. Sometimes when Matt lingered at the swinging door of the Long Branch I often wondered what he was thinking-standing there saying good night to Miss Kitty.
 I loved Doc-always with his black ribbon tie and pocket watch and doses of wisdom. Chester, Matt's deputy although I don't remember if that was official, was a gentle soul complete with a limp. While there were other characters over the years, Matt, Kitty, Doc and Chester remained my favorites as we'd sit in our bed in the living room eating popcorn made in a skillet. But the night of good TV didn't end with Gunsmoke. Paladin-Have Gun Will Travel-rounded out the programming. We enjoyed Paladin. But thoughts of beautiful Miss Kitty and handsome Matt Dillon always lingered.

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