Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Boot retirement

While I was in the process of preparing for the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged (#AWBU) conference and shopping Country Outfitter for my boots, my old boots developed a crack in the sidewall. Not a big crack, but a definite crack through the leather. That helped me decide that I wanted to replace them with the same make and model of boot. I love my old boots.

My beloved decade old Ariats have developed a crack
in the side.
I've worn my old boots hard for more than a decade, and I hate to admit, I don't take the best care of them. I've worn them out in the rain and not saddle soaped or oiled them. I wore them when my whole family went trail riding in the snow above Blue Mesa.
When they were almost new, I wore them riding Jahim at Parelli Camp. I galloped Nefisa, Legend, Misata, Ghoti and my beloved Aliya in those boots.

I packed with llamas in the Colorado canyon lands in those boots and had adventures around Taos while wearing them. I built many, many miles of fence in my Ariats.

When we moved to Arkansas, I wore them in self-defense against briars and ticks and copperheads. And when I got my job as Craft Director at the Ozark Folk Center, those boots carried me hundreds of miles on the pavement. I wore a pedometer for a while. One day I did eleven miles on the concrete sidewalks and wooden stairs of the Craft Village. I decided I didn't need the pedometer to tell me I walked a lot. But I did need my boots.

Old meets new - My brand new Heritage Lacers
from Country Outfitter.
I tried to replace them two years ago with a pretty pair of women's Ariat lacers. My feet are too wide for their women's boots, so the pretty new pair stays pretty and I wear them when I need to look a little more refined. On most days, when I need to stride around the village at high speed, I wear my old, faithful, original Ariats.

Thanks to the #AWBU promotion by Country Outfitter, I was at a boot party with a grand new pair of boots. I had decided as I dressed for the party in my green velvet skirt that this was going to be the retirement party for my old boots. In my mind, all these people were gathered to help me send my dear old boots off into the sunset. I wore them to the party.
Old boots went into the box, waiting for retirement.

As the evening progressed, I became aware that this party was something different to every person there. It was a photo shoot and promotion for boots; and adventure for many who had never tried boots; a birthday party; and most especially, an engagement party. It didn't seem right for it to be the retirement party for my boots, too.

I changed into my new boots for the photo shoot and then the jig dancing class with Clancey Ferguson. The new boots are good, they are comfortable. They look very nice and fit very well.
Gently, I tucked my old boots in to the Ariat box. Eventually, I'll find the right way to retire them. They are so much more than boots. Those soles hold a decade of my memories.

If you have an idea for an appropriate retirement for beloved old boots, please share it with me here.

2 comments:

Park Wife said...

I am so glad you got new boots because you ran the old ones in the ground helping make this event go off without a hitch. I am forever thankful for your kindness and generosity and most of all, your acceptance.

gina knuppenburg said...

Jeanette,

It would have been a lovely time for a send off to your beloved boots. I, too, can appreciate a good pair of shoes and having to say goodbye is hard {I'm so not joking. I love my footwear}.

It was so nice to meet you that weekend. Thank you for all your hard work with AWBU {and for saying that you sometimes read my blog-lol}.