Friday, October 16, 2009
Red Cowboy Boots
I have red cowboy boots, ordered from the new Norm Thompson catalog, boots which I will mostly wear for Bayview Sound gigs, since they fit our "American roots" image and repertoire, but I will also wear them to feel like the cowgirl I used to be.
When I told the band about ordering them, they insisted that if they were that purty (that's the cowgirl spelling) I should wear my pants tucked in so the decorative stitching could be seen. We had a big argument about this, as I was adamant that real cowgirls NEVER tuck their pantslegs inside their boots. I am not a dude!
They weren't convinced, so I discussed it with the Athena Pals, Mary Alice especially. She still lives in Pendleton and attends RoundUp every year and is one of the editors of the new 100th Anniversary of the RoundUp cookbook, entitled "Beyond the Bull". They wanted to see a picture, so I sent them the one you see above.
We were agreed that real cowgirls don't wear their pantslegs tucked in because it looks affected, but Mary Alice allowed as how some modern cowgirl fashionistas DO tuck, if the boots are really fancy.
I will be interested to hear what folks like Lizard Eater and other real Westerners have to say about it, but my mind is pretty well made up. Cowgirls wear their jeans OVER their boot-tops.
Here's the deal: I was born in a small town in Washington, lived in Portland OR for awhile, and then moved with my family out to the small north-eastern Oregon town of Athena, where I spent the next nine years of my life riding horses in the fields and along the unpaved streets of town, driving a truck in pea harvest and wheat harvest, and attending a high school where my graduating class numbered barely 20.
Going to small liberal arts Linfield College south of Portland was a huge shift in consciousness for me because of the wide world of thought it opened up, but never ever did I lose my sense of being a small-town Western girl.
When I had a chance to choose which American Baptist Home Mission field I wanted to serve after college graduation, I asked for Denver, unable to fathom a home where I couldn't see real mountains, even though the Rockies didn't look like the mountains I was used to. Real mountains were formed by volcanos, not accidents of geology.
When I studied for the ministry and had a chance to choose the geographical location I wanted, I specified Oregon or Washington, again unable to fathom a home without mountains or water. Colorado had pretty well dried me out and I needed to re-hydrate, both literally and figuratively.
It's always been clear to me that the Pacific Northwest is different from all other areas of the country. It's Western, for sure, but it's also unique in its attitude toward life. Ways of being on the East Coast sometimes seem ridiculous in the PNW. I get the New York Times, and I love it for its news coverage but am astounded at what I see culturally. It would just seem so affected out here.
Many people who relocate to the Pacific Northwest from areas east of the Rockies need to recalibrate who they are in this country which challenges the landlocked midwesterner and the cultural attitudes of the eastern and southern states. The water, the rain, the ocean, the Sound, the trees, the underbrush, the volcanos, the adventurous spirit this land requires: if you grow up here, you will rarely be truly happy anywhere else.
For all the years of my marriage to a midwesterner who adopted Colorado as his home, I wanted to come back to my birthplace. When we divorced, I considered moving then, but it would not have been fair to him or to the Favorite Son. But when ministry called, it was my ticket home.
So back to the red cowboy boots: I think I'll wear them today.
Posted by Lilylou at 9:05 AM