It started when my mom was out of town, and dad had to babysit me one night when I was six. He thought it would be easiest to set me down in front of the TV and let it watch me while he “talked” with my Aunt Susie.

That was the first time I ever saw a ten gallon hat, a galloping steed, and the righteous and furious justice of quick draw. I saw men asserting themselves and standing up for the weak and oppressed. I knew then I wanted to grow up to be just like them.

When mom found out about Aunt Susie, Dad took off. I filled the male role model space with ones that would never leave me. John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and the likes became my father. I lived and breathed everything cowboy and western.

It didn’t change as I got older. I wore my cowboy boots and tight Levi’s. But my life took a strange turn one day when I found a wanted poster with my face on it. Stranger still, the wanted poster was part of an Early America museum exhibit.

How did my face get onto a poster from the 1700’s?