I was looking at the local news on my computer the other day and a sports article liked to have shook me out of my Gene Autry cowboy boots.  It started out, Back in the Saddle is a classic song done by Roy Rogers.  It dates back to 1941, well, before my time (end of quote).  I felt as if cold water had been poured over me.  This was a statement worse than, you will shoot your eye out, or make my day and saying Dean Martin said it.  Back in the saddle was the signature song of Gene Autry, it was written by Gene Autry and Ray Whitley and released in 1939.  In 1976 Gene wrote his autobiography and the title of the book was, Back in the Saddle.  Later in 1942 Eddie Dean another cowboy recorded the song but it didn't do much for Eddie.  Gene put out many hits including Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer.  Now, I don't want to slack Roy Rogers, he put out Happy Trails, Don't fence me in, and Yellow Rose of Texas.  The day that Trigger died and that was in July 1960.  Roy had a taxidermist stuff and mount his famous horse and his dog Bullet, plus Dale Evans' horse Buttermilk.  A group of us got to see them when we visited Roy Rogers Museum.  How do I know about Gene Autry? Well, I started riding with him when I was four or five years old.  That would have been 1939 which means I have rode with him for a long, long time.  My family didn't have much and we lived like all cotton-mill people with six living children, a daddy and a mama on a cotton mill salary, but they always managed to come up with a dime when Gene and his sidekick Frog Millhouse was showing at the Mount Vernon Theatre.  If you had come by on Saturday afternoon when the movie was over, you could see me riding a china-berry stick horse singing Mexicali Rose or one of the other hits that Gene Autry had.  We took the Birmingham news paper in those days and I read where Gene Autry visited the sick children at the UAB hospital and went to each bed and talked to each child.  Oh, how I wished I could have been sick and in the hospital at that time.  Gene could be riding along and break into a song and automatically a guitar would be in his hands.  In addition to movies he put out a lot of hit songs including Peter Cottontail, You are my sunshine, That silver haired daddy of mine, and Heading for the last round-up.  Each one giving me and thousands of boys like me a thrill.  How do I know you ask again?  I know because hanging on my wall in my living room to this day, just in case a stray crook or outlaw may find my hide out, is a Gene Autry cap gun, one of my prize possessions.  With this cap gun is a roll of caps just in case I might need some ammunition.  Over my sink in the kitchen are some souvenirs of the past and included is a Gene Autry guitar and if that isn't enough credentials to identify me as a genuine fan, in my bookcase is a Gene Autry songbook with the words to a lot of Gene's songs.  Gene's horse Champion had pistol for bits and I often wondered if Gene got in a tight could he use one to protect himself.  There was a total of seven Champions over the many years that Gene rode the range and I don't know how many stick horses I wore out riding along side him. Gene wound up a very, very rich man before and after his death because of his business deals.  He was married twice but on screen he didn't kiss the girls because he was a cowboy, a true cowboy sang to the girls and kissed his horse.  Thank goodness my horse was a china-berry tree.  When I read what a young reporter had said a Gabby Hayes quote came to my mind.  That young whipper snapper don't know his cowboys.  So get back in the saddle and remember that it is a Gene Autry song.  By the way Gene Autry and Roy Rogers died within three months of each other in 1998.