Obituary,PS I Love You,Wine,Winery

Letting Go of A Childhood Icon ~ Fess Parker

Thursday, March 18, 2010, Fess Parker died of natural causes, at his Santa Ynez home near his winery. Fess was 85 years old.

It’s taken me a while to write about Fess Parker’s passing away.

I grew up watching Fess Parker on Television during the 1950s with his signature coonskin hat as ‘Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier.’

This picture of Fess is borrowed from InsideMovies/Moviefone.com. Everett is credited as having taken this beloved image of Fess that everyone my age fondly remembers.

Parker created a phenomenon for my generation… Every boy, including my brother Peter, had to own a coonskin cap. It wasn’t a good time for raccoons, but it was a great time for kids watching a television program where good always won over evil, with Fess leading the way.

It didn’t take long before we were all singing, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”

The greenest state in the land of the free,
Raised in the woods so’s he knew ev’ry tree.
Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three…
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.

Besides ‘Davy Crockett,’ Fess also starred in “‘Daniel Boone,” for over 150 episodes. That was a lot of TV. As kids, we were all mesmerized. My three sisters and I knew that we couldn’t touch my bother’s coonskin cap, because he’d kill us. It helped that he never took it off… for I don’t know how many years. I’m willing to bet that that was one of Peter’s favorite Christmas gifts of all time.

But, I got to eventually one-up my brother.

In early January of 2006, a check arrived for membership to PSILY, unannounced and unsolicited. It was from Epiphany Cellars, Fess’s winery. They remained a member for a few years, but eventually decided that the distance between Los Olivos and Northern California didn’t allow for the winery to take full advantage of its membership, so you won’t find them on the PSILY site anymore… but they still remain in my Petite Sirah heart.

So, the day this check arrived, I looked at the signature, and did a double take as my heart skipped a beat. My childhood hero just sent his autograph to me… It wasn’t even about the check for at least a few weeks. As files come and go of those who are members and then feel the need to move on, those files eventually become recycled; however, I’ve kept the photocopy of that check, because the signature meant so much to me.

I’m now going to send the autograph to my brother Peter. His hat’s long gone.

I’m ready to part with this photocopy, now that I know why I was saving it; as evidence of my love for Fess Parker as of my favorite heroes. Peter will love it, too. I’m ready to share.

Good bye, old hero. So many of us boomers are going to really miss you!

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