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Finding my Roots in Cowboy Boots

January 13, 2011

Today, while doing some New Year closet cleaning, I stumbled across my cowboy boots. I’m a big fan of flip flops these days (yes, even in winter), but I remember the “ode” I wrote to my boots a year or so ago when I first got them. And once I get out of these sweatpants, I’m sure I’ll wear them again.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share.

***

I grew up traveling the world. As the toe-headed daughter of an Air Force officer, I learned my first English words in Japan. I sailed into puberty in Hawaii. I woke up to flaky, chocolate croissants in Paris on my 13th birthday — and attended Oktoberfest long before I could enjoy the heavy steins of rich, frothy beer. But no country, culture or people have inspired me like my birthplace — Texas.

As a northern friend once joked, Texas is the only state that actually “lives up to its parody.” Big hats, big boots and, most importantly, big pride. Because I’ve spent much of my life relocating (and reinventing), I found great comfort in the sense of belonging that came with being a local—a Texan—when I finally settled down here.

To walk the walk, I finally bought the right shoes—my first pair of cowboy boots. (Or are they cowgirl boots?) Either way, they’ve already molded to my feet. Funny enough, I love wearing them to the office. I prop them up on my desk and admire the juxtaposition of durable cowhide sewn together with tiny, delicate threads. The warm, caramel leather hugs my ankles as swirls of gold and peach designs wind up my calf.

At first, I wanted a pair of boots for novelty, something to wear for a night on the town or maybe to a country music concert. But what I’ve discovered is much more profound. With these boots, it’s not just about where I walk. It’s about following in the footsteps—and clinging to the no-nonsense horse sense–of past generations.

In my little corner of corporate America, it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of marketing plans and conference calls. My boots help me wade through all of that — and when needed, step over it. They give me a genuine Texas swagger, a boldness, and a soft-spoken rebellion. And at night, when I take them off and set them by the door, they remind me that I’ve gotten the job done yet another day. Even if they aren’t covered with dust from riding the range, they’re still, as my grandma called them, my work boots.

Many boot aficionados have the same pair their entire lives. And like a wrinkled, elderly face with a lifetime of laugh lines, old boots come with a story. Their nicks, scuffs, dings, and cuts add personality and charm. They just seem to get better with age. They fit better. Look better. Feel better. And I like that.

In several decades, my boots will tell a story of their own – the story of a Texan. They’ll remind me of family portraits taken in fields of Bluebonnets. Of tramping through piles of hay on my grandma’s East Texas farm. And of the time when — long, long ago — I was a young career woman with her first pair of cowboy boots.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    January 13, 2011 3:24 pm

    LOVE this! I got mine about a year ago and need to start wearing them more… Unfortunately, I was not born here, but that’s OK, right?

  2. Kimber permalink
    January 13, 2011 3:38 pm

    This is great Lauren! I need to get some cowgirl boots myself!

  3. Danielle permalink
    January 13, 2011 11:23 pm

    Lauren!

    We have similar hearts. My dad was a Marine and we moved around a bit and finally settled in Arlington in 1997. I never thought I’d love Texas enough to consider staying there once I got old enough to be on my own. I always wanted to keep moving and call the world my home. Moving away (twice!) made me realize that I love saying ya’ll and having people know that I come from the Lone Star State. I love how different each part of TX can be with it’s own identity and people. It’s a great place to have roots.
    I love your blog, girl!! You are so eloquent. Keep it up 🙂

    D

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