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A Taste For Western Boots

Thursday, July 3, 2008

As a tourist in whatever region, all manner of things are on display to entice the wallet out of your pocket and it’s content into the cash register. Like these western boots, for example: I would like to own a pair, and these new ones were very appealing, colorfullly displayed on a rack. However, in trying them on, they seemed so un-natural on my feet. Perhaps it is the feeling of a girl wearing high heels for the first time. Curiously, they had used, skuffed boots piled helter-skelter in a cardboard box on the floor. not nearly as appealing as the ones in the photo. Looking more closely at the used ones, I was curious as to why these well- worn boots cost more than most of the new ones. The sales person replied, “ I can see you’ve never broken-in a new pair of boots! Man, the first month is the most painful!” He intuitively grimaced his best painful expression he could muster while delivering the news. 

(Not the best approach to sell a pair of boots). So, I let it pass, although the used boots did feel more comfortable. 

Coincidently and at a later date, we were on a trip to Holland, and we were investigating the neighborhood adjacent to our Amsterdam hotel one evening. Each house had curbside refuse for the trash man to cart away the next morning. As an artist who is no stranger to transforming curbside “junk” into art, I intuitively slowed down at each pile of refuse to see what might be interesting. At one location there was a pair of well-worn western boots on top of the pile, a hole in each of the soles. I thought to myself, “ If these happen to be my size, I could repair these soles and you have a very desirable pair of boots, without much of the “ initiation pain!” My wife said, “You are not going to pick up trash while we are on vacation.“ We went on to the restaurant, and I forgot about the boots. 

However, the next morning, we got up very early to take our rountine morning walk, again on the streets near the hotel. As we turned the corner, we met the happiest looking dog you would ever want to meet. Why was he so happy? He had a western boot gripped firmly in his mouth (with a hole in the sole) and his tail was wagging double-time. This dog too had recognized a first-class treasure in the curbside trash. And had envisioned a very chewable, tastey treasure at that! Trash to some . . . treasure to others!