The Christmas Boots

Christmas spending can be hard on families whose main provider works in the construction business.  The construction business has building booms as well as collapses due to the economy.  Even when there is work, seasonal cycles of inactivity may exist due to Mother Nature.  If you work outdoors like my dad did, then you may not be able to work due to hard rains, snow, or ice. 

I remember one Christmas when I was in my teens.  There had been lots of work and extra money to come in so it was a good year for my dad financially.  He and my stepmother decided to splurge at Christmas as they had not been able to in the past.  They bought all the boys fishing rods and some fishing lures.  My brothers were so excited they got up early the next day to go down to the creek and try to catch some fish.  It did not matter that the creek was not stocked with fish, they just wanted to try-out casting with the new poles.

Even though I like to fish too, I was secretly glad I did not get a pole.  What I got was a small purse size bottle of Charlie, which was my favorite cologne at the time.  Later, while the strewn paper and bows were being picked up and put into a trash bag, my dad came and sat beside me on the couch.  He told me that the cologne was not to be my only gift and that I would get the opportunity to select an additional gift to match the cost of the boys’ presents the following day when the stores opened.  Since I was too old for dolls, he wanted me to be able to select something I really wanted.  He asked if I had anything in mind I might want.

I had been drooling over some fashionable knee-high style boots for some time that a school mate had. I had asked my mom for boots as a Christmas present and did not get them.  So I told my dad I wanted some boots for Christmas in either black or white.  Being a practical girl, I specified colors that should go with any outfit I had.

The next morning, after breakfast, Dad and I headed out on the long drive from the country to the nearest large town.  Since I said I wanted boots, dad took me to a Western store as he was thinking cowboy, not fashion.  We looked around for some time to no avail.  So we went to a second boot shop (still not a regular shoe store) and he started by asking the clerk “Do you have any knee-high boots that zip up the side?  My daughter really wants that sort of boot.”

The sales clerk replied they had some but they were on an after-Christmas clearance so she could not guarantee they would have my size left.  She showed us where the boxes were to look through.  Not only did they have my size, they had one of my desired colors!  We found my Christmas boots and I was thrilled. Before we got in line to purchase the boots, my dad noted because they were on sale I was not spending my allotted limit.  I said I did not care as I was getting what I really wanted.  The sales clerk recommended we buy a pair of knee socks to wear inside the boots.  She showed us socks and we picked out a pair then went to the register.

All this shopping and driving had taken some time and it was afternoon.  Dad suggested we have lunch before driving home.  We stopped at a Denny’s-like place and ordered.  I was a picky eater so I quickly turned to sandwiches to save time looking at the menu.  I do not remember what dad ordered but I believe it was steak, either rib-eye or chicken-fried as that is what he often got at restaurants.  When my order came, I must have had a strange look on my face.  Dad asked me if there was something wrong with my food.  I said I had ordered a roast beef which came with fries and I thought they brought me the wrong thing.  He noted it was called an open-faced sandwich with au jus  gravy on top to be eaten with a fork.  He suggested I try it and if I did not like it, we could order something else.  I tried it and I loved it!

The best thing about the lunch was not the food, it was all the stuff I learned about my dad’s childhood and interests I was not aware of before.  With desert, we were in the restaurant for about one and a half hours.  Dad asked me about myself and school. I was a one-word answer kind-of-gal so he really had to carry the conversation.   In doing so, I found my dad was more than a ditch-digger on a Caterpillar; he was a very interesting guy.

We drove home content and full.  I was happy with the boots sitting in my lap.  I showed them to everyone when we got home.  My baby sister loved them so much she asked if she could get some too (which she got for Christmas the next year.) 

I wore those boots almost every day, except summer break when my mom insisted I wear sandals, for over two years.  I wore them even after they begin to crack and show much wear.  The only reason I was able to give them up was because mom bought me new ones so I would be willing to change.   As you can see, these were not the last boots I owned.  According to mom, they were not even the first as I had faux fear trimmed “Beatle boots” for winter wear in elementary school.  However, they are the boots I remember best and they are what truly started my romance with fashion boots and footwear.  Yes, I am a shoe-aholic!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling of getting new boats! Or any type of shoes, especially heels :)

And how cool that your dad worked at Caterpillar