Goodbye, Davy Crockett

As every Baby Boomer knows, he was:

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee,

Greenest state in the land of the free.

Raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree,

And kilt him a b’ar when he was only three!

That was Davy… Davy Crockett.  King of the wild frontier.  Oh, he was so handsome!  So strong!  When no one was looking, I sneaked into my brother’s room and marched around wearing his coonskin cap, the tail hanging down my back.

I was even closer to Davy in adulthood.  The man who played Davy Crockett, that is.  Fess Parker.  He was my neighbor in Santa Barbara.  No coonskin cap, but he still cut a right dashing figure.  All 6 foot 6 inches of him. 

Went off to congress and served a spell,

Fixin’ up the government and laws as well.

Took over Washington, so I heard tell,

And patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell.

Fess wasn’t really the politickin’ kind.  But he sure was good to Santa Barbara.  And he was patient, too.  He took some pretty unsightly land along the beachfront in hand and laid out a gorgeous hotel.  When he wanted to expand it, he did everything the city asked of him.  Built a lovely park and donated it, for instance.  Donated the land, too.  But he never did get his permit to expand.  We regular citizens shook our heads in confounded disbelief.

When he came home his politckin’ done,

The Western march had just begun.

So he packed his gear and his trusty gun,

And he lit out a-grinnin’ to follow the sun.

Where Fess Parker went was to the Santa Inez valley, not far from his pal Ronald Reagan’s Western White House.  He planted 2,200-acres of vineyards there.  Prize winning grapes is what he grew.  His wines won piles of awards and medals.  Whenever we saw Fess loping down the dusty street, we just said hello.  He smiled, tipped his hat, and said hello right back.

Davy, Davy Crockett. 

King of the wild frontier.

Goodbye, Davy.

Rest in Peace, Fess Parker.

After a certain number of years, our faces become our biographies.

Cynthia Ozick


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8 responses to “Goodbye, Davy Crockett

  1. Irene

    We were attending a Channel City Club luncheon at which Art Linkletter was the guest speaker. Seated at the table next to us was Fess Parker. And yes, he was dashing even well into his 80’s! In an age of mediocrity, men of character will always be missed.

  2. Really wonderful eulogy, Kay. I also adored Davy Crockett . . . and admired Fess Parker. He seemed like a man who was comfy in his own skin.

  3. Those were the days. He was good in “Them” the giant ant movie?

  4. Thanks for letting us know, Kay. I hadn’t heard that he had passed away. I never missed Daniel Boone when he was on TV, but we’ll always miss men like Fess Parker. He was another Jimmy Stewart or Gregory Peck–men with kind souls and generous hearts. Men of honor. We need more of them today. Thanks for such a wonderful eulogy. I wish his family could read it.

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