Gary Jacobson

ONLY THE SHADOW KNOWS
(Or the Howdy Doody Syndrome)

In days of innocence for youthful Americans
Playing cowboys and Indians
Hopalong Cassidy and Tom Mix always in a fix
With Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett
I was a kid with marbles in my pocket
My artillery on the 4th of July, a bottle rocket
Playing war with a stick for a bayonet
Playing soldier with GI Joe
On the way home from the ten cent picture show
Swashbuckling adventure running wild on the double
Cliff hanging movies keeping us out of trouble
Imaginations caught in fantasy still
Ethics taught by Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bill
Handed a gun, taught to shoot to kill
Playing cops and robbers with Sergeant Friday
Till by real war sent far and away

How did I become a man;
A boy really, sent to Vietnam
Only the shadow knows
Only the shadow knows…

Then, I didn’t have to worry about anything, but girls
Discovering that difference like a kaleidoscope whirls
Oh Henry candy bars
Buck Rogers to Mars
Fighting the Alien horde
And their evil warlord
As raging hormones blossomed
In my ‘49 supercharged Chevy heavily chromed
With glasspacks…
Running with the teenage pack
Talking about which teacher we disliked most
My biggest worry, the football game we lost
At the Dairy Queen
Crew cuts and poodle skirts made the scene

The future lay ripe before me then, without doubt.
What did I have to worry about?
Where did it all go?
Where did my innocence go?
I really want to know…
Only the shadow knows
Only the shadow knows…

“When I was a child,
I spake as a child,
I understood as a child,
I thought as a child,
But when I became a man, I put away childish things… “
1 Cor. 13.12