Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Friday, September 7, 2012

Dad's Boots

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 much more than mere footwear.
They were, in fact, the signal that opened and closed the work day.
And a source of entertainment.
On many 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 a baby.
A source of laughter for us kids when we'd try them on.
Then try 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 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.
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 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.
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 still wears boots.
They 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 boots he now pulls on.
And remembering.

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11 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story! Isn't it funny that some of the simplest daily activities are the ones that stick in our memory years later?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Things like, dishes, cleaning, chores. All become special memories . . . in the past! :)

      Delete
  2. I remember Dad's boots, both when getting coerced into removing them and also getting the side of them in my backside when I wasn't behaving. I didn't like either one, needless to say...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to include the side-bop. But didn't. Sigh.

      Delete
  3. A touching remembrance! I think of my own dad's work boots. I wish I had taken them when we had to clean out the house after Mom and Dad were both gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing how simple, everyday things become so precious . . . afterwards.

      Delete
  4. You should offer to take them off for him...just for old times sake. I'll bet he would get a chuckle out of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And he would definitely take me up on it!

      Delete
    2. You might just get a 'kick' out of it (ahem).

      Delete
  5. The things our parents made us do... Oh well, we survived it, lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That which doesn't kill you . . . :)

      Delete

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