The Lone Ranger
It was time for the party to begin. A formal occasion, black tie for the men, long dresses for the ladies. I walked in, feeling out of place and uncomfortable. I wore a simple, straight cut, long black dress, borrowed from my mother-in-law. The dress matched my mood, dark and sultry. I looked around the room and wanted to hide in a corner. Women with fake smiles plastered on their faces buzzed all around the room. It looked like a modeling show for every top designer in town. I wanted to blend in with the background so no one could see me. This was the grand opening for one of the largest fitness centers in central Florida. Everyone who worked at the fitness center was there today, playing host and hostess to the multitudes of people visiting for the first time. I was out of place.
My brother-in-law was a partner in the ownership of the fitness centers. My husband worked for him. My husband had to attend the grand opening today and I was expected to attend, as part of the family obligation. I looked around and shuttered. Why was I here! I wanted to run. Standing in front of a table, waiting on some model figure to make me a name tag, my mood darkened. I wasn't part of the fitness crowd. I was a 32-year-old woman, mother of three, with the figure to prove it.
A fake smiling face looked right through me. "Name please", she requested. I knew I was insignificant as a real person to this group. I did not want to wear a tag, showing my last name, so the plastic faces could fall over themselves being nice to me to impress my brother-in-law.
"Name please!" Her voice a little louder this time. "I need your name so I can make you a tag."
"B-i-l-l-'-s W-I-f-e will work for me", I replied.
The sculptured face looked directly at me. "I need your name. I have to have your name to make the tag for you."
I smiled at this young lady and said, "Just put 'Bill's Wife' on my tag so that others will know who I am."
"Bill who?" she questioned.
"That really doesn't matter," I replied, my voice getting louder. My mood was getting darker
My brother-in-law overheard the discussion about the tag and came over to see if there was a problem. The young woman explained to him that I refused to give her my name and that she could not let me entered until she knew who I was. He laughed and introduced me as his sister-in-law, and said, "This is Bill's wife." I told him that I wanted 'Bill's Wife' on my tag. He turned to the young woman and said, "If she wants to be Bill's Wife today, then I suggest that you write it on the tag and stop hassling my sister-in-law. I entered the room, not as a person in my own right, but an extension of the Gibson family.
Clayton Moore was there to do question and answer sessions with the audience. This was the high point of the day. Many may not recognize that name today, but this fine gentleman was the original Lone Ranger! He was the featured guest to help bring in the crowds to the grand opening of the new fitness center. He was scheduled to make a few appearances during the day..
I was amazed at the size of the crowd gathering around the platform when Clayton Moore was escorted out, surrounded by bodyguards. As a child I spent many Saturday mornings watching the Lone Ranger. "Hi Ho Silver" was very familiar to me. Though my mood was dark, I did look forward to meeting the Lone Ranger. The child deep within me still held this man in high esteem.
Clayton Moore was on the platform, smiling out to the crowd. When he spoke, silence spread through the room. He voice rang out loud and clear. It was the same deep beautiful voice we had heard as children watching The Lone Ranger on Saturday morning TV! I stood at the back of the crowd, trying to blend with the wall. I wanted to stand there, totally unnoticed; to listen to every word Clayton Moore spoke. His voice had a hypnotic affect on me. As I listened to every word, my dark mood was forgotten. I was surprised to find myself mingling at the edge of the crowd, no longer part of the wall scenery. As I stood in awe of this great actor, I felt as if he were speaking directly to me as he told of his life as The Lone Ranger. My respect for him grew as he spoke to the crowd from his heart.
As Clayton Moore finished his first speech and opened the question and answer session, I found myself in the middle of the crowd. Mr. Moore told us that due to his time schedule he would answer no more than one question from each person. He wanted to give everyone a chance to ask a question. Hands came up all through the crowd. I was the first person that Clayton called on for a question. I asked my question about his career and listened as he answered. The room was full of magic. I could feel it in my very soul. Three times I held up my hand to ask a question and three times Clayton spoke to me! I knew I was being selfish, but I felt as if he and I were having a personal conversation and it seemed so natural.
When the session drew to a close and Clayton Moore waved good-bye, I quickly walked away from the crowd. I had no where to go so I hurried back to find a place in seclusion. As I turned my back and walked away from the crowd, the crowd seemed to be following me. I kept walking away, trying to find a place to myself. I continued walking with my back to the crowd until I was once again next to the wall. When I turned around, the crowd was gathered behind me and yet no one was close to me. I was surrounded by security guards. Clayton Moore stepped forward and spoke to me.
The Lone Ranger smiled at me. I stood frozen in time. He asked my name. I laughed, still not able to speak. "I saw your name tag. I wanted to know the name of the most beautiful woman in the crowd. If Jay Silverheels was alive today, he would say your spirit was speaking to me."
Stunned, I finally spoke, "I'm Bill's Wife."
"I see that. But what is your name?"
I laughed again. "Guess you'll have to find Bill and ask him." I turned to walk away.
"I won't know who Bill is unless you give me a last name," Clayton Moore said with a laugh.
I turned back around as I spoke. "Just ask anyone here. They can tell you who Bill is. No one would know me, even if they read my name."
The security guards escorted Clayton Moore on to his room and the crowd followed. I was left alone, where I wanted to be, in a corner, next to the wall, out of sight.
When Mr. Moore made his second appearance that day, I came out from hiding. I still have no memory of walking to the front of the crowd gathered around the platform. I stood there, listening to his story about the new "Lone Ranger" movie and the battle over Clayton Moore having to give up his mask. His voice reached out into the crowd and mesmerized them. I felt as though he were talking directly to me.
Bill and I had been told that sometime during the day we would be taken back stage to meet Clayton Moore in person and have some time to visit with him between stage appearances. We were told we could take our three children back to meet him as well. All of us were looking forward to this.
When it came time for us to be escorted to meet Clayton Moore, I clung to my husbands' hand. I felt like a young schoolgirl, out of place and tongue-tied. My husbands' brother led the way back to the room where Clayton Moore was staying. Again we were surrounded by security guards before being let into the room.
Mr. Moore stood as we entered the room. My brother-in-law introduced his brother Bill first. Clayton Moore shook Bill's hand. I stayed close to the door. Mr. Moore spoke to Bill.
"So you are the man I've been searching for all day! You have no idea how glad I am to meet you. I met your wife earlier and her name intrigued me. I've been trying to find out her name and when I asked her earlier she told me I would have to find Bill and ask him, but she didn't give me a last name!" Clayton Moore laughed. "Bill, what is her name?"
Bill laughed with Clayton Moore over this. He held his hand out to me and I moved over by his side. "Mr. Moore, I would like to introduce you to my wife, Sherry."
Clayton Moore shook my hand and called me by my first name. He teased my brother-in-law and my husband about not letting him know that the mystery woman he was looking for was Sherry. We all stood laughing about it.
My husband and I spend a few hours during the day visiting with Clayton Moore. A more real human being I've never met. My husband is a gun collector and the high point of the day was when Mr. Moore allowed him to hold his gun belt and closely examine the pistols and the silver bullets.
Bill came and went that afternoon as duty called. Our three children came and went as their interest in the man waned. I remained to talk to Clayton Moore. It was a day that influenced the rest of my life.
Clayton Moore acknowledged me as a person. He made me feel that he enjoyed talking to me, finding out who I really was. Parts of our conversation have been forgotten over the years. There is one conversation we had that never left my mind.
How can one repeat a conversation and a meeting of minds, and yet relay the total innocence and beauty of the moment? For it was the innocence of our meeting that held such beauty for me.
Reaching out and grasping both my hands very gently in his, Clayton Moore spoke in that deep mesmerizing voice. "Why would the most beautiful woman here today, not want anyone to know her name. Why do you seem so aloof and distant from every person around you? You seem so sad and so uncomfortable."
I withdrew my hands from his grasp and turned my back to Clayton Moore, knowing I was going to answer him, but not knowing what words I would speak.
"That isn't the first time today that you have referred to me as the most beautiful person here today. Why do you do that? Why do you keep saying it? It's not true ! I can look out there in that crowd and I see beautiful woman at every turn. Women much younger than me, women with much better bodies than I have. I can't hold a candle light to those women. No one here knows me; no one cares to know me. These people know my brother-in-law and my husband. If I put Sherry on the tag, what would that tell them? I'm Bill's wife and that is wonderful, but I feel like I've gotten lost in the shuffle. No one knows Sherry or cares who she is."
Clayton Moore didn't laugh when I rambled on to him. He stood up and walked around and stood in front of me. "I cared. I stood up on that platform, surrounded by a huge crowd of people and you were the only person I saw. Your beauty goes deeper than your face. Your beauty comes from your soul and it shines through Sherry, like a halo around your face. I wish Jay Silverheels was here to explain it better. He would understand what I feel. He and I use to talk about things like this. When Jay was alive he taught me many things about the spirit of a person."
"Well my spirit is fine. It just wants to go places and do things and to be recognized for who it really is. I want to be me. I want to be Bill's wife and the mother of my children but I also want to be myself."
He smiled at me as he sat back down. "You are young and beautiful and the world is just beginning for you Sherry. Your spirit speaks loudly. First you have to learn who you are and then you can teach those you love to know this person and love her too. Stop hiding from yourself and hiding your beauty. Wear it proudly. You are a very special woman, and when you learn to trust your own spirit, you are going to go a long ways. Stop being afraid to learn who you are."
"Easy enough for you to say Mr. Moore. You found your success in life, but I'm still looking for mine."
Clayton Moore laughed at me this time. He threw back his head and laughed. "Success isn't found! That is the secret. You don't find it. Success is made. You make your own success by learning who you are, going where your spirit takes you, by being true to your self. When you stop blaming the world for whatever is wrong and start looking inside yourself, you will see that your success is already there, just waiting for you. You will make your own success Sherry because it's in your spirit."
As the day continued my husband and children were in and out. All of us visited with Clayton Moore and enjoyed hearing about his life in CA, his home in the mountains, his love of his wife and family. He talked a lot about the loss of his best friend, Jay Silverheel.
When I walked out of that room and back into my real world, I walked out with my head held high. I walked into the crowd of people knowing I was the really the most beautiful woman in the room. I never looked back. I knew that Clayton Moore had opened up a New World for me that day. He opened the door for me to discover who I really was. Clayton Moore had the unique ability to help me set my spirit free.
© Copyright 2002 Sherry Gibson. All rights reserved