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    Texas | Columns | "True Confessions and Mild Obsessions"

    Riders Of the Purple Sage
    In Our Little Purple Boots

    by Frances Giles
    Probably my favorite footwear during my entire childhood had to have been my purple leather Western boots with bright yellow stitching. They were a present from my Uncle Clint, my mother's brother, who worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad at that time. He regularly went down to Harlingen, TX on his "runs" and I'm sorry to say I don't remember what his job entailed. He worked for them for only a couple of years before settling into marriage, fatherhood and a job with the city bus company in Beaumont, my hometown.

    I was about 3 or 4 and my brother Butch a year older when Uncle Clint came to our house at the end of a run with two pairs of the most beautiful little leather boots I never knew I had pined for my entire short life. It seems he had gone across into Mexico while he was staying over down in the Valley and had these little beauties hand made in a shoe shop. I don't know how he knew our sizes, though probably he asked my mother, or maybe he drew around our feet on pieces of paper. I only know they were perfect fits. Butch's feet were a little bigger than mine, but the stitched patterns were identical on each pair. I wish I could remember the pattern. I think maybe it was a softened thunderbird outline, of a "kinder and gentler" shape for kids. I loved those boots the way a kid loves a favorite stuffed bear or special toy. The smooth leather was a bright, intense purple (think Taco Bell restaurant trim) and the stitching was, well, screaming canary yellow. We had our woven straw cowboy hats, courtesy of our Grandpa, and lived in these boots almost every day, all day long playing Cowboys and Indians, commandeering Mama's broom for use as a stick horse and galloping around the yard for miles. It was a constant battle to convince us we couldn't wear our boots to Sunday School or church, and under no circumstances could I wear them with my dresses.

    All things considered, I had the best of the deal. When we outgrew them, I inherited Butch's pair and had double the enjoyment. I loved my time spent as a high plains drifter, though more accurately I guess we were coastal cowpokes or piney woods punchers. A day in the saddle rounding up crawfish when it rained and the next door neighbor's Cocker Spaniels was hard work.


    Frances Giles
    "True Confessions and Mild Obsessions" October 19, 2012 Column
    Related Topics: Beaumont
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