Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Getting the Boot

Baby brother . . . being entertained
My father (herinafter known as 'Dad') was a rancher.
He had been born that way.
In his twenties, he added the title of 'Veterinarian' to that.
But he was first and foremost, a rancher.
As a rancher, his wardrobe seldom varied.
Heavy work pants.
And boots.
Which were so much more than mere footwear.
Dad's boots were, in fact, the signal that opened and closed the work day.
As well as a source of entertainment.
On several levels.
Dad's boots were - because he had 'special' feet – special.
They were heavy.
And specifically designed to compensate for his long, narrow, profoundly flat extremities.
They laced up the front.
And fit . . . well.
They were the favourite entertainment for my baby brother.
When he was . . . umm . . . a baby.
A source of laughter for us kids when we'd try them on.
Then attempt to walk.
Usually covered in mud and manure during the day's labours, then scrupulously cleaned before being brought into the house.
With Dad's pocket knife. (But that is yet another story.)
In short, they were a part of my Dad.
An important part.
Dad always donned them himself.
Said donning, after breakfast, was always the signal that visiting was over and the workday starting.
But Dad never, ever took his boots off by himself.
In fact, the removal of Dad's boots was quite a process.
And a family tradition.
Let me describe . . .
Dad would take his seat in his usual comfy recliner.
And his numerous children would scatter, suddenly recalling activities that needed immediate attention.
Somewhere else.
But there was always a laggard.
Someone who was the slowest to react.
Dad would pin them to their chair with a look.
Then silently hold out a foot.
Reluctantly, the child would assume the position.
Facing away from Dad and bent forward, clutching said boot between their knees with both hands.
Dad would then put his other foot on his helper's backside and start pushing.
His boot would be quickly and efficiently . . . removed.
And dropped on the floor.
The process was repeated with the second boot.
The footwear was then gathered.
And set aside.
Only then was the slave helper, released.
Mission accomplished.
As mentioned, this procedure signalled the end of the work day.
Odd, isn't it, that a humble pair of boots would assume such proportion in our daily life?
But they did.
Now in his late eighties, Dad has given up boots.
Shoes now replace his slippers when he is going outside.
And, like his slippers, they slip on and off easily.
I was watching him the other day as he sat down.
Staring at the footwear he now pulls on.
And remembering.

17 comments:

  1. That's sweet. You're so great at capturing the family rituals that make up our lives...love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen! There's something entertaining in nearly every family ritual, don't you think?!

      Delete
  2. Somehow you have made "what used to be" both funny and melancholy, Diane. Good memories can hurt a little, too.

    I do love your work shirt post as well. That was before I started reading your blog regularly. Seems that both of your folks were pranksters :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were certainly well-matched, Jenny! :)

      Delete
  3. Just for fun you should 'assume the position'....it would probably give him a good laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to try it on my next visit. And blame you . . .

      Delete
  4. You have such a talent for turning everyday tasks into the most wonderful stories! I could picture the whole process!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lana! It's the everyday tasks that were so 'UGH' when we had to do them. And miss now! :)

      Delete
  5. Not being a rancher, my dad never wore boots, in fact I don't recall anything with laces at all. Dad wore slip-ons. Shoes and slippers. The slippers would go on the minute he got home for the day and shoes weren't put on until he was ready to leave for work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The signal that work was done, or ready to be started! Amazing what signals shoes can send, isn't it?

      Delete
  6. Lovely, Diane.

    My dad always wore shirts with a breast pocket where he kept his cigarettes and pens. Just a couple years before he died he finally was able to quit smoking. I remember how strange (but good) it was to hug him after that and notice the lack of a pack in his pocket.

    But he kept the pens.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the photo on this post! And you painted another with your words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's still so clear in my mind, Susan! Seems like it was a few minutes ago . . .

      Delete
  8. I loved this story Diane and it reminds me of my dad. He had to wear those steel toed boots because of his job and many, many times one of us kids had to help with that removal and I can't remember the times we would try to walk with these big heavy things. He's been gone a long time (he died suddenly when I was only 15). It's nice to think about those memories. It's amazing I can still remember his smell more than anything. It's so strange the things we remember!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting! Drop by again!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at Amazon.com and Chapters.ca and other fine bookstores.

Follow by Email

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

Google+ Followers

Networked Blogs

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series

SnowMan

SnowMan
A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.

Translate

My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

About the Mom

My photo

Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven

Essence

Essence
A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from Smashwords.com

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.

Melissa

Melissa
Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.

Devon

Devon
Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

Be Courageous!


Grab and Add!

Search This Blog

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?