During kindergarten and 1st grade there was a kid…Jonathan Olsen. He was a Jehovah’s Witness. I doubt highly he personally ever witnessed Jehovah, but someone in his family had, and convinced him that it was the right thing to do. It forbade him from standing during the flag salute. To a fellow first grader, who knew very little American History, or love of country, that seemed kind of cool. He also didn’t participate in Christmas activities, Halloween activities, Birthday activities, Easter activities, or any other school activities that involved celebration, and usually, cupcakes.

His religious choice was against celebrations of most kinds, but it apparently allowed for watching, and loving The Dukes of Hazzard. He was pretty convinced he was Beau Duke. Maybe it was his blonde hair, or the fact he could make car noises with his mouth, I’m not sure, but he truly thought he was in Hazzard county the entire time he was at school. He wore plaid button up “duke-esque” shirts to school all the time. He’d enter is desk over the top, as if he were sliding into the General Lee. It was kind of crazy.

I was fortunate enough to be Luke Duke, I had blonde hair, but I guess, due to the fact that I was the only one familiar with the show, and the inter workings of
Hazzard county, I was the obvious choice. We usually played live action role playing versions of the TV show. He’d recruit other kids to be the various other characters on the show. It was always difficult to get a Daisy Duke. No girls thought that running around in circles pretending you were driving a car was very cool at all. No guy was (at that time) willing to play the part. The simulation pretty much involved a lot of other people chasing Jon and I around the playground trying to catch us, and Jon and I yelling “Yeeeee-Haaaaaaaaaaaaw.” A lot.

Sometimes Jon would bring matchbox car versions of the TV cars to school, and we’d play with those in the dirt…of course Jon always got the General Lee, and of course, you could never catch him if you were a police officer. It was pretty much an event with a predetermined ending. If you tried to “catch” his car, inevitably there would be a “Yeee-Haaaaw” followed by his car magically jumping your car.

“You can’t do that?” you’d say..” I had you blocked in….”

“Uh-huh, the Dukes can…” he’d say and drive off. I guess it was magic.

Usually I was Uncle Jessie…and drove the truck around, or on occasion Cooter…that was cool, because you got to be on Jonathan’s good side, and do the same magical car jumps to escape capture. Sometimes somebody would get stuck driving Daisy’s jeep, which was a cool looking toy, but it always kind of upset us…nobody wanted to be the girl…so that person usually sat far away and just drove the jeep in circles until lunch was over.

Pecos was almost always Boss Hog if he played with us…and as he put it, “I had no idea what the &*$# a Boss Hog was…” Which was exactly why he got that car.

I remember Jon always used to go home for lunch, because he lived basically right next to the playground. I was always envious of him going home, because he had his choice of food in his house, and we were stuck at school with whatever we were forced to eat. I went home with him once, and we ended up hiding from his mom for a long time, and if I recall correctly, we got back to school late, and got in some pretty decent trouble. I was informed that ‘going home with Jonathan was NOT allowed, without a note.’ I never ended up going back with him….and after first grade he moved away. I’ve kind of wondered what happened to him. I wonder how badly he took it when The Dukes of Hazzard went off the air? Did he ever realize how wack his religion was? I kind of imagine him somewhere with a few other quirky nerds reenacting episodes of the Dukes at a local community theatre.