I know it's not Monday morning, and Lord knows I'm not a kid anymore. But sometimes you wish it were, and you were, because you'd like to do the Monday Morning March just one more time.
See, if you're of a certain age, and if you grew up anywhere reached by "big, booming, powerful Channel 9" in Baton Rouge, La., you most certainly grew up watching Buckskin Bill.
"Buckskin" was Bill Black, and he did his kiddie show for something like 35 years until he got canceled in 1990. For most of those years, Black donned his buckskins twice a day -- in the morning for the little kids on Storyland and then after school for the older kids with The Buckskin Bill Show.
IT WAS A Baton Rouge rite of passage for a kid to go before the WAFB-TV cameras -- to actually share the stage with Buckskin! -- on his birthday, with a Scout troop, or in a line of kids doing the "Elephant Walk."
I'm sure no one today would be particularly impressed with a never-ending loop of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" for a soundtrack as legions of kids filed by a barrel, dropping in their saved-up pennies to buy a pair of elephants for the city's brand-new zoo. Ah, but they forget that magic is made of equal parts simplicity and cheesiness. Yes, it is.
For his first 15 years on the air, getting a zoo for the underachieving Southern city was Buckskin's cause célèbre. For years, he signed off the Buckskin Bill Show with "Remember . . . Baton Rouge needs a zoo!"
A few miles away, the competition on Channel 2, Count Macabre, would spoof this by saying "Remember, boys and girls, Baton Rouge is a zoo!" Both statements were demonstrably true.
Anyway, my turn on the Buckskin Bill Show came in March 1965. It was my fourth birthday. I brought a bottle of Bayer aspirin for Amazon relief.
Buckskin sat me on his lap and started to ask some basic toddler-level questions. The cameras were huge. The lights were bright. I was silent.
My mother was crouched on the studio floor whispering "He's four!" Buckskin, no doubt, was wondering "Who is this woman?"
Why should the fambly be the only ones scratching their heads?
I never did say a bloody word, and Buckskin sent me on my ignominious way -- the redneck equivalent of a dumbstruck Ralphie being dispatched down the Santa slide some decades later in A Christmas Story. On the other hand, he bought us all Coca-Colas after the show.
Even preschool humiliation went better with Coca-Cola. And Holsum Bread.
Why am I writing this? Beats me. I was just thinking about Buckskin Bill -- again -- and how it's sad local television doesn't bother to make magic and memories anymore. Who does?
So there you go, the wistful musings of a middle-aged Southern boy . . . and some vintage video of the Monday Morning March from sometime near my arrival on planet Earth. It seems to me that, during a time when we fear our many crises will overwhelm us, we all need us some Monday Morning March.
Even if it is Wednesday.
Oh . . . one more thing. "Remember, you're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."