Thursday, February 10, 2005

In the months prior to leaving for Paris I spent much time editing my things and disposing of that which I would not be bringing. All the household items went. In the spring I packed my winter clothes away and shipped them to dad and then in August did the same with my summer things. But I had a shoe problem that I procrastinated on solving. Getting rid of the worn shoes, the fashion mistakes and the Doc Martins were easy. But I really needed Chuck Taylor’s in every color and fifteen pair of flip-flops, didn’t I? Eventually I sorted it out and brought along a dozen or so pairs plus a pair of snow boots. That left me with one decision, my cowboy boots. I never wore them; in fact they hadn’t been out of the closet in nearly three years. But they had a story and try as I might I couldn’t part with them.

In the spring of my freshman year I decided to stay in the city where I went to school. Mom had moved to Houston and though she had a room for me, and her friend offered me the use of a car so I could get to a job it wasn’t what I wanted to do. So Katie, my dorm roommate, and I found an apartment together as she had nothing to go home to either. About this time Rachel, who I didn’t really know yet, Gloria and my friend Karen were plotting a summer trip across the west. A fourth girl was supposed to go but cancelled and Karen suggested me as a substitute. I jumped at the chance and like that my summer plans changed.

While we all had been to California and skiing in the Rockies, none of us had ever traveled through the west by car. Rachel had been given her dad’s old Land Cruiser, which was the perfect vehicle for the trip and we obtained camping gear so two weeks after classes ended we hit the road. We planned a six-week trip; it ended up being a day over seven. We had a blast. Except for the first and last days we avoided major highways and traveled back roads taking us through small towns and lots and lots of open country.

In Wyoming we were rescued by cowboys when we got a flat on a backcountry road leading to a thermal pool and couldn’t get the jack under the truck. We went dancing in small town bars, went on trail rides, learned to herd cattle from a horse, watched ropers clubs, went skinny-dipping in rivers and probably had the best summer of my life. Week four had us in Durango at the KOA. We decided to use the location as a base camp to see SW Colorado. Durango Day One: Too tired to do anything let’s hang out. Day Two: Let’s see what’s in town.

Durango is a fancy tourist trap. Lots of places to spend money on nice things and we found a few. One place offered custom hats and boots. Karen went for a hat. I bet she’s the only Jewish, punk rocker from Long Island who has a custom cowboy hat. Rach and I succumbed to boots.

Kind of like buffets, the problem with custom made boots as you can have everything on them. Mine have a robin’s egg blue shoe, with a lipstick red shaft. Appliquéd on the shaft are rose and trumpet vine blossoms in yellow and orange. With the piece de resistance being the letter K in navy leather script for Kimmie on the front.

It took about six week for them to be ready and by that time I was home. Returning to the apartment one afternoon a package was waiting for me with the doorman. I knew what they were and rushed to my place to open them. Then I had a ‘and just what was I thinking’ moment. I tried them on they fit wonderfully, I often have trouble with finding a good fit, but they were tacky as hell. I wore them a couple of times and was hooted and laughed at and told to go back to Nashville. So in the closet they went.

When I got to Paris, Janna and Anne Marie saw them and loved them. “Very American,” they said and insisted I wear them. I did and Europeans, but not Americans or Canadians love them for being so over the top. I usually wear them with jeans or a long denim skirt but a couple of times with a denim mini, tacky, even fugly, but fun.

Now they sit in a corner by the armoire and I think about that summer whenever I see them.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

My vote: Don't dare throw the boots out! Obviously the Europeans have a fine sense of taste about these things. And yes, they'd be appreciated in almost every state West of the Mississippi, right? (And most of them south of KY too!)-- VJ

8:39 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Yes all places that I would risk stoning for who I am and what I do :). But inspite of that there are some very nice people living there.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Garrison Steelle said...

The symbols remaining from our rites of passage are endearing beyond any practicality or fashion. Keep them forever.



5:37 PM  

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