Growing up, I included so many heroes in my bedtime prayers that it’s a wonder I ever got to sleep – D’Artagnan and all three Musketeers, Sinbad the Sailor, Hercules, the Scarlet Pimpernell, Zorro, most of the Knights of the Round Table, and of course Robin Hood.
Who wouldn’t want to be an expert archer, live in a forest, and be notorious for doing good deeds.
As I got older, Robin Hood became more of a love interest than a hero as the movie industry put a real face to him.
I did have female heroines too, albeit very few. Joan of Arc and Annie Oakley are the only two who come to mind that could keep up with their male competition. I’m sure part of the reason Joan made it to number one on the female list was that she wore bright, shining armor and swung a sword. Annie Oakley’s only redeeming factor was her sharp-shooting ability. I found her skirts to be very unflattering.
I knew I would never get away with wearing metal boots and a helmet to school, let alone taking a sword along. It wouldn’t fit in my schoolbag anyway.
But I did maintain that if Annie had set aside that skirt and worn pants and leather chaps like all my other wild west heroes, then I’d never have to wear a dress to church again. My six-year-old self could almost understand having to leave her six-shooters home for her baby sister’s christening, but why on earth did she have to wear tights, especially if she couldn’t live in a tree and always had to leave her bow and arrows in the car?
Until I was about ten, anyone fighting against injustice or setting upon an inconceivably dangerous quest became my hero. Just thinking about Horatio Hornblower creates an image of flashing blades clashing against one another against the backdrop of thunderous waves smashing against a heaving galleon. Adventurous and brave as he was though, now, fifty years later, I can only relate to Horatio’s bouts of our shared seasickness and landlubber’s stomach…which brings me to my latest hero
The best eggplant parmigiana hero on the planet.
Do you have a hero or two? How about sharing them with me? Just know that I am NOT sharing this last one with anyone.