Today, seeing 28 flavors of Ice Cream on the menu seemed like heaven. While I wanted to devour ALL 28 flavors, I always defaulted to Vanilla. I remember that very first lick, of creamy Ho Jo’s Vanilla. I loved it so much, I felt like Howard (Johnson) made it for ME. How did this guy, Howard, KNOW exactly what I want? Oh…..to be seven, again.
Howard Johnsons Boston
Yes, maybe the Ho Jo’s vanilla cone was the best I ever had. But could it be that I was waiting to see my childhood hero, Rex Trailer? This Ho Jo’s was right next door to WBZ-TV on Soldiers Field Road. From time to time, my Dad would take me on his sales trips. I think he thought letting his little round-headed 7 year old tag along would create the image of the hard working family man, trying to close the deal. It worked, because he would take me often.
Meeting A Hero
One day on the way home, we just happen to be driving by WBZ-TV. I yelled, STOP THE CAR! At 7 years old, I demanded that Dad drive into the WBZ-TV lot, to yes, help me find Rex Trailer. Rex Trailer was a 1970’s 80’s TV cowboy, whose popular Boomtown TV show, OWNED Boston television for years, on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Rex was actually a rodeo star, born in Texas, who found his way East, to create this amazing show for kids, and families. He was a modern day Jedi Knight. Rex was a pilot, of both planes and helicopters, and was an expert rodeo star that could perform tricks on his horse, a beautiful, blond palomino, named Gold Rush. Rex would ride Gold Rush right on to the set of the show!
When I dragged Dad into the front WBZ-TV lobby to find Rex, the nice woman in the reception area kindly informed us that we had to write in for tickets for Boomtown, and there’s a SIX MONTH wait. Well, little 7 year old Jaybeau was not about to wait six months to meet his hero. When we got back to the car, I said, “Dad, we’re not leaving. We’re are going around the building to sneak in to find Rex.” Now, my Dad was as adventurous as I was. He always wanted to be a cowboy, and even owned his own horses when he was young. Dad, like me, was a kid, in a grownup body. So trespassing on private property was just fine with him.
Backstage At Boomtown
Now that Dad was under my spell to find Rex, he followed me around the building of WBZ-TV. In those days, there were no fences or passed needed. So getting IN was a layup, although at the time it felt diabolical. When we reached the back of the building, our dream began to take shape. We saw a horse trailer! Wait, is that….YES!!! It was a horse trailer, with Rex’s horse Gold Rush! 1970’s color TV could not capture the beauty of this perfect animal. Even Dad was taken by the site of this wonderful creature we watched on TV each weekend. OK, the mission continued. We saw a garage sized door, that was OPEN, with a ramp leading into the back of WBZ-TV. I grabbed Dad’s hand and said, Let’s DO THIS. (I don’t think I really said that. But it sounds good, now.)
We walked up the ramp, and there we were: on the TV set, of Boomtown.
Did We Find Rex?
The studio lights were off, but we found ourselves ON THE SET of my favorite TV show. It was if I was IN my TV. As we were in our glory, the bubble was popped as we heard: “may I help you.” A studio hand approached us. Now, my Dad had to switch back to being a grownup, realizing we were trespassing on private property. But, Dad, didn’t give up. He asked if Rex was nearby, asking if he could come out and meet me, saying we did not know that we needed tickets to the show. The WBZ-TV employee, knowing the power he held, said, “I’ll be right back.”
About three minutes later, I heard the sound of footsteps, the sound that only real cowboy boots could make on a waxed studio floor. Right before our very eyes, the one and only REX TRAILER! Now he was not wearing his signature cowboy hat and fringe cowboy jacket. But he was wearing a giant belt buckle that only a true cowboy could wear. I was speechless. Dad jumped in, introduced himself and explained that little Jay could not leave without meeting Rex and seeing Goldrush. “While we don’t have tickets, we are happy to just meet you, Rex.” What happened next, was unthinkable. Rex said: “We tape the show at 3pm. Why not go next door to Ho Jo’s, and come back for the show, AS MY GUEST. Your name, Jay, will be at the front desk. See you at three, PARTNER.”
Not only did I meet my TV hero, see behind the scenes at WBZ-TV, I get to be ON Boomtown, invited by Rex himself. Thanks to my Dad, my real hero, I discovered that day that miracles and dreams can come true, if you believe in them and that you believe you are worthy of them.
So when I think of our favorite ice cream, I think of the day, of tasting my dream at Ho Jo’s, meeting my TV hero, Rex Trailer, right next door, with my real life hero, my Dad.
So, now that’s we’re craving ALL 28 flavors, let’s go find Our FAVORITE Ice Cream!
Thanks to Instacart.