Thursday, February 5, 2009

By The Straps

I bought 'em in the fall of '92. Shortly after I hired on at the post office. I was young, a few months shy of twenty. I had money to burn and good times to have.

The ten inch tops were the same shade of red as you'll find on the Texas Flag.


The lower portion was the same shade as harvest ready wheat.


They were made by the Anderson Bean boot company.They were double stitched with a rounded tow and a low heel. They were the perfect pair of cowboy boots.

Now I'm no cowboy. I've never owned a horse. I couldn't rope a three legged goat much less a wild steer, and I got no desire to be bucked off of anything.

But I am a Texan, a westerner and I don't do fancy dress shoes and pressed slacks. Boots, jeans, a button down shirt. That is my idea of dressing up and that pair with the red tops were the best ones I ever had.

They were on my feet that chilly January night back in '93 when I first met my wife. They served me well as we two-stepped our way around the rodeo arena that night. Yes, I met my wife at the after dance of a bull riding event.

They were on my feet the day I said I Do. I wore starched black Wranglers and a Tuxedo top at my wedding.

They scooted around many a dance floor, took in many a good concert, and had more than a few drops of beer spilled on them.

They were the footwear I reached for when I had to attend a wedding, funeral, or writer's conference.

They were on my feet the night I danced the Hokey Pokey with Kensington editor Hilary Sares. Hilary is my favorite New Yorker, but I haven't totally forgiven her for making me put my right foot in and shake it all about. In public, before God and everybody. The next time she came to town me and my boots took her to a true Texas dive called the Golden Light Cantina since I knew damn good and well they wouldn't play the Hokey Pokey.

Those boots were what I wore to a week long writing workshop in Arizona where I met what have become great writing pals, Alex Keto and Cicily Janus.

They carried me to the graves of a few friends and both my grandpas. They danced at friend's weddings, and they had seen their share of Texas dirt.

I had 'em resoled half a dozen times, but for better than 16 years they carried on through the good times and the bad. The one thing they couldn't survive was fire.

Earlier this week one of my best friends from high school lost her dad. He succumbed tohis battle with cancer. The funeral in later this morning. I hadn't thought of my old boots until I knew I would be attending a funeral. Truth is I didn't wear often anymore. Only when I had to. The left one had been a might tight ever since I broke my ankle playing roller hockey. But despite that they were always there waiting in the closet when I needed them.

Last night I went out and found me a new pair. They are made by the same company, but quite a bit different. Styles have changed. I have changed, but I can only hope this new pair of boots serves me as well int eh coming years. and here's hoping they see lots more weddings, dances, and beer sloshes than they do funeral and tears.



Aren't they purty?

51 comments:

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Those are a purty shade of red! The red tops make me chuckle. It's like a guy in a suit having a Black Sabbath tattoo on his back or something. They're just so YOU.

Incidentally, I got cowboy boots for Xmas. I'm loving them.

Deborah Elliott-Upton said...

C'mon, those boots are screaming to do a Chicken dance and a Hokey Pokey, too. They are quite nice. I am sorry your old boots went to Boot Hill (sorry, couldn't resist), but new is something we should all experience here and there. These are good boots for a good guy. Go ahead, take 'em dancing and soon.

Travis Erwin said...

Actually, those tops are orange, it just didn't come out well in the picture.

Hestias Gem said...

You made my soul drop and you made me smile. Thanks :o)

Being Beth said...

Those are nice looking boots. I'm pretty sure they'll serve you well. They won't be broken in until you slosh some beer on 'em -- get scootin"!

Angie Ledbetter said...

One of my fav posts ever! I have my pointy toed water snake boots from 82 still, but they are "shedding." Got a nifty yeller pair of pointies at the thrift store (also snake) for $3.98 this week! wheeee!

Melanie Avila said...

I'm glad you were able to find a new pair!

Melissa Marsh said...

I love that you wore your boots to your wedding. My husband wore his Harley-Davidson jean jacket. Ha!

Kristen Painter said...

Boots are awesome. I would love to get a pair.

BTW, did you know Hilary left Kensington?

Crystal Phares said...

Hubby and I both wore boots and jeans at our wedding... we went for comfort over spiffy dressing up. We had the best time, and everytime I see his boots sitting on the shelf in the closet, it makes me smile and remember the fun we had.

I hope your new boots bring you many smiles and good memories. You deserve it.

Mr. Shife said...

Enjoy your new boots Travis, and you have some great memories from your old pair.

milbernfamily said...

Cheers to the future of you, Jen and your orange boots...Now you best make plans to BOOT, SCOOTIN BOOGIE!

Charles Gramlich said...

I like boots but I do in more for the biker type. I've only had one pair of cowboy boots in my life and I did like them pretty well and they did last. Wonder what happened to them? I can't remember

Zoe Winters said...

Awwww, hehe.

I'm a big fan of boots, but I like the girlie boots that come up to the knee and look good with skirts. But you probably don't wear skirts (no judgment if you do), so your boots work for you. :D

Travis' Wife said...

We have a wedding to attend in May so the boots will get to go to a wedding in a few months.
I do not know if there will be a dance, however if it were a Catholic wedding I know for sure the Chicken Dance, Cotten Eyed Joe, and some kind of German Poka would be played. You cannot have a wedding dance and not flap your wings it just is not right.

cher said...

This post almost made me cry. It's crazy how much I identified with your boots and how much I miss them for you right now.
I've thought about you a lot lately. I've thought about your losses and the attachments we have to 'things'.
I've listened to the CD you made me several times and I've prayed for you and your family.

Now...are you ready boots? Start walkin'!!

pita-woman said...

I love the look of boots, but I always have a hard time finding boots that will fit me comfortably.
Here's to you creating lots of new memories!

The Anti-Wife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Anti-Wife said...

They're gorgeous, Hon!

Barbara Martin said...

Oh, Travis, words fail me.

lyzzydee said...

They are fantastic!!! I am amazed that they lasted that many years, I don't posess a single pair of anything that old!!!

Bee said...

The boots live on!

(What do your new boots look like?)

spyscribbler said...

Oh, Travis! They are pretty! My husband was only a Texan for a decade or so, but he grew up on a ranch and did rodeo before he got too big.

I want to buy him those boots! His favorite color is red, too!

Lana Gramlich said...

Oooh, stylin'! I had a pair of white cowboy boots I absolutely adored. Because my mother knew this (& strove to hurt me wherever possible,) she waited until I went to sleep one night & threw them away. That was one of my first encounters with the 1st of Buddha's noble truths. <:(
Enjoy your boots forever!

Reb said...

Oh, nothing worse than losing a good pair of boots! I hope the new ones take you amazing places. You'd best get to breaking them in before the wedding though Although that should only take one wearing ;)

Shauna said...

Ahh...the Golden Light Cantina...one of the many things I miss from Amarillo. *sigh.* Memories, memories...

Nice boots, btw! :-) I've never seen someone do the Hokey Pokey in boots, though. Gotta see that! lol

preTzel said...

Would it be terrible to admit that I think they look girly? I love cowboy boots and love a man in them but I prefer dark brown or black. :D

Junosmom said...

shucks, Travis. I imagine you find every now and then that something is gone that had always been there. I'm glad boots can be replaced, though you'll have to break them in. You were due for some new ones :-)

Linda McLaughlin said...

Your new boots sure are purty, Travis. Hope you get to wear them somewhere fun soon.

Amy said...

Hey Travis...We know the Anderson Bean boot company well. It's located in Mercedes, TX just down the road from us. My husband is friends with the owners. They also make Rios of Mercedes boots. Those are just about the only shoes he wears. Sorry you lost your other boots in the fire, I hope you enjoy your new ones. If you're ever down this way, let me know and we can go to the factory. Amy

Cicily Janus said...

I remember those boots as if they stepped on my toes just yesterday. Mighty fine memories. Sorry to hear about your friends father. Cancer is an enigmatic asshole.

Miss you.

~Cicily

alex keto said...

A totally radical change seeing as how these don't have the pointy toes style like the old pair.

anyway with luck, they'll last fifteen years, too.

I have also owned a pair of cowboy boots for the past fifteen years 'cause it was about that long ago that I tossed them in a closet.

Nuthin' beats felony boots otherwise known as Nike high tops

Michelle said...

Purty doesn't even come close! :)

Cloudia said...

Purty writing, Travis! Good to see a pos by you. Aloha-

Barrie said...

Very fancy. I think they'll stand you in good stead. Get it?!! Bad pun! STAND you in good stead. Ha! I'm cracking myself up!

the walking man said...

Ah yes the touchstones we use to bring memory forth. May this new pair, as you said contain many memories as well and more.

Say now that Kwame Kilpatrick is a Texan do you think you could do Detroit a favor and plant one of those boots up his rear end?

Mary Witzl said...

Wonderful post! Those ARE fine boots, and I admire how much use you got out of your last pair. I say you should take these new ones dancing too: they've got some memories to help you make, and being embarrassed is good for your character.

I've got a much-worn, much-loved pair of cowboy boots myself, purchased in Italy in 1988. I've had them resoled in three different countries and I'd sooner shave my head than get rid of them.

Josh said...

dam, those are purty. Great freaking post dude!

J. L. Krueger said...

Understand the feeling about not dressing up. I get most of my clothes from Cabelas (though I must admit to wearing suits too). Haven't worn cowboy boots in years though.

Pink Ink said...

Love 'em!

It's interesting how the getup can make the man. My husband, who has been pretty much a city man most of his life, has taken to wearing cowboy hats and boots because we do horses. I still stare at him with amazement at times.

Sorry about your friend's dad.

Scott Lessard said...

ok - so the truth is that I've never understood "western wear". It seems to me that both sexes are competing to see who looks better. The guys look feminine and the girls look fantastic.

That being said, I bought a beautiful black stetson when I still lived in NY and was traveling to Dallas a lot. Sort of a souvenier.

I've started looking for boots recently. Not big heeled, orange topped cowboy boots, but a pair of comfy and durable ropers.

Maybe if I had the boots, I'd don an ugly shirt and my hat when I go to the rodeo - which I love to do.

May God bless your boots, Travis, and the feet that are in them.

SL

Clare2e said...

I like 'em, Travis, even if I am more inclined myself to a Cuban-heel and a nose-picker toe. May they break in without the blister juice and carry you through another two decades of memories.

I acquired my last real boots in H.S. Nothing fancy, I think they were Justins, fawn and pointy, too narrow and long-gone now. I've been itching for another pair over the last year, dancing around the idea, since as you proved, we're talking a long-term relationship here. I want something that suits me now, and never would have back then.

Debbielou said...

Very Attractive! - my husband Malc has a pair that are about 30 years old hidden in the loft -could have sent you those (!)

DrillerAA said...

Them be some spiffy looking boots dude. Man, I haven't owned a pair of Cowboy boots in ages.
I did own a buckskin, fringe jacket in the late 60's though.
I trust that you and the family are recovering from your disaster. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
Have a great week-end.

Mystery Robin said...

Oh geez, from the beginning of this post I kept thinking "He lost them in the fire, please don't have lost them in the fire!"

I'm glad you have a new pair. They're fabulous!

Martha Miller said...

very cool boots! you may not be a cowboy, but you've certainly paid your dues! enjoy!


thanks for following my blog, travis!

angel, jr. said...

Yes, they are purty!

Robin said...

Ah, Travis...thank you, so much. For all you mean to all of us. But most importantly for telling me it's okay to keep re-soling my high-top red boots! (hey, the bottoms are black and I don't tuck my jeans in!)

My fave pair were high top's, top red/bottoms black (snake phobia....wanted boots to my shins in case they were long suckers!)

They became old friends... Mom through them out in 1989...we're just now speaking...kidding).

I bought a new pair, not the same and never will be...but I soooo get your point...some things can't be replaced and I know you (bless your heart) are going to face more of these moments in the years to come...stuff you took for granted will take on significance you never realized they had...

BUT! Starting over can banish the bittersweet and be very exciting as well! I wish you all the best still~!


Harry came down and spoke to us! YOU'RE next (if I can talk you into it...and must bring your wife so we can commiserate!) Harry made me promise to make the PPW meeting in March...I'm committed, call me, threaten me, kidnap my dog...I've got to make writing a priority (and let the business go to hell!)

Later!

Ello said...

Oh man, I love those boots! They are pretty! Are you sure their yours? ;o)

Terri Tiffany said...

Loved this tribute! Here's wishing you many years of wearing them!

Jess said...

This is one of your GREAT posts, T. I'm sad about your boots now. :) I hope the new pair sees more good times than bad, and more weddings than funerals, and most of all I hope they don't hurt your damn feet. :)