Tonight in Dallas, Texas I finally did something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager. I bought a pair of cowboy boots. Not the high top "Western" kind but the shorter "Roper" (learned this tonight) kind.
My boots are brown with some light blue designs on the uppers. Rather than the traditional pointed or classic squared toe I opted for a rounded toe, so I could wear the boots Up North and not look like I’d escaped from a “Lonesome Dove” movie set.
I was born in Pasadena, Texas, a suburb of Houston when Dad was in the U.S. Air Force. He and Mom had gotten married in Biloxi, Mississippi in October 1951, and later they found themselves as young marrieds stationed at Ellington Air Force Base. I came along in October 1952. They remained in Texas, which meant I did, until Dad finished his hitch at the end of the Korean War. Then they headed home to southeastern Ohio.
Texas was a big time for my parents, and I grew up hearing Texas stories from their stint in the Lone Star State. It’s a big state, but it became even bigger for a kid.
And I grew up in the TV cowboy era, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Hopalong Cassidy, the Rifleman, later on “Rawhide,” and later still, “The High Chapparal.” And of course “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.” TV movies were dominated by Western themes too with characters played by Glenn Ford—my favorite, John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper to name a few.
As a little kid I had the boots, guns, and cowboy outfits. I even had the name. All my life people have commented on my name, like “Hey, Roy” or “Rex Rogers, that-a cowboy name?” It was like the name fit in a movie title, "Rex Rogers and Gabby Hayes in 'West of the Pecos.'" Even this week in Texas at a SAT-7 briefing a lady said, "What a great name." It's a Western thing.
And I read "Westerns," Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, and their writing progeny. I still can get lost in a good Western, though fewer writers, at least good ones, are tackling the subject and the setting.
Having grown up with Texas being talked up to me, and having had cowboy boots and clothes as toys when I was a kid, I've had Texas on the brain my whole life. So once in awhile I’d think about buying boots.
But whenever I had occasion to consider boots I pushed the idea away due to cost or the fact I worked a profession where I had no place or opportunity to wear them. Seemed silly then, not so much now. I don't work that kind of job anymore, and I have plenty of time to wear casual clothes. And for a Michigan guy there's an added bonus: the boots can be worn in the winter.
So here I was in Dallas driving toward my hotel when I saw Cavender's (next door to Sheplers—even bigger), which I've seen on several previous visits. It might have been smarter to buy the boots at home in case I needed to go back. But there was something cool about the idea—one long in incubation whose time had come—of getting my first pair in Texas.
So, I may be nuts or just fulfilling a childhood psyche thing, but it was fun.
At last, Roy Rogers would be proud of me. Check buying cowboy boots off the bucket list.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012
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