Friday, January 03, 2014

Boots and Hat.....

The cowboy, familiar icon of The American West - Old West. Cowboys, real ones, still exist, but fairly tame versions of the 20th century Hollywood cowboy. Best thing about classic cowboy image is the work-wear: great boots, snug jeans, big belt buckle, and best of all the hat. It's probably a bit on the adolescent side, but I still do get a thrill when I see a guy dressed in what's come to be known as "western wear". It underlines for me the fact that I really am where I am - which still surprises me again and again even after going on 10 years! How the heck did I get here? How did that happen? Is it some crazy dream?

My husband and his family are definitely not into the western wear thing. I sometimes get the feeling that they don't like it one little bit. Familiarity breeding contempt perhaps? I suppose the politics of our area might have something to do with it, but much as that bothers me too, on one level (actually I loathe and despise it), I can still enjoy the sight of a guy in western wear and the sound of good ol' country music (not modern country-pop music). I must have inadvertently fallen into this weird "love" back in the UK, while watching TV series such as Lonesome Dove, Centennial, maybe even Dallas had a hand in it too.

Considering the areas through which most of our road trips have wandered and locations of antique stores where husband has found his vintage photographs, it's surprising that he has hardly any featuring cowboy types. I guess real cowboys didn't go much on having photographs taken; they'd be out on some line camp, alone with the cows and coyotes for much of the time.

This one started young....

Did he grow up like this?

Some of the fun comments on the above at Flickr, 3 years ago:

I'm a lineman for the county......

And the banker never wears a mac in the pouring rain.

Very strange!

Holy cow! I've seen lots of denim clad butts - but this one takes the beefcake!

Ain't he a peach? Beats a poke in the eye and bein' snowed in.

I could use one of those....:) Moos sent me. Happy New year!

I just commented to a flickr friend that he's probably at least eighty by now. But you know, if he still likes to clean. . . just ignore the Copenhagen drool.

He fills out his jeans nicely too.

Oh, and I'd like one that does floors and cooks.

It's all in how you train them, girls. This one is obviously house broke.

Jean Albus
The laundry is not what I noticed first. :) Happy New Year, Karen. xo

Yeah, I spotted the jug of moonshine by the steps first.

These four guys were obviously horsin' around for the camera in borrowed outfits

Here's a real live example snapped by husband in a small town not far from home:

Wonder if one of those hats would suit an ol' Yorkshire gal?


mike said...

"Hard hat days and honky-tonk nights" is from "Urban Cowboy"...if John Travolta can be a cowboy, who can't?! Do you and aj have a mechanical bull in the bedroom? LOL

Plenty of ersatz and genuine cowboys here in deep Texas. We have the King Ranch about 20 miles out:

It's one of the largest ranches in the world...I suppose the others are in Argentina. King Ranch has a long history of love triangles, murder, loss, corruption, and revenge behind it. There are several books covering its history, which you might enjoy, Twilight. I didn't realize you were a cowgirl at heart.

I've lived in quite a number of cities across this country and I've had my fill of urban cowboys & cowgirls...seems like every city has its requisite country-western bar and dance hotspot, if not many. We have several here in Corpus and there are many western costume shops, replete with the trimmings of the genre. I have to admit that I'm partial to the bolo ties, specially if they have gemstone slides, but I don't own any...LOL.

Country-western made it into rock & roll, too, with The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" about country-western bar prostitutes.

And who can forget the controversial "Brokeback Mountain" about two bromancing sheep herders? Anne Hathaway was superb, as was the entire cast.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh no! Western style dress is the only focus of my attraction, the rest - mechanical bulls, rodeo, line dancing etc. don't interest me one bit. Even western garb seems to actually repulse husband. He will not wear even a shirt that's vaguely western style under any circumstance. I did entice him into a western style hat for our wedding though.

I'm not a cowgirl at heart - hate farms and don't like farmers. Could've married one early on but ran away instead.

No - it's a complete mystery even to me, this weird magnetism to The Old West I feel. The New West, by comparison, is a complete disappointment, apart from the guys in western wear. ;-)

We enjoyed Brokeback Mountain - the screenplay was co-written by Larry McMurtry who was author of Lonesome Dove and its sequels (great stories of the Old West, some of the best).

A blog post of mine :

mike (again) said...

Yes, McMurty was highly regarded for his many writings. "Terms of Endearment" won him accolades, too. He wrote in many different "styles" that are now called his various "series".

Interesting comment he made about his heart surgery. I've read that patients can become severely depressed. His description was relevant to one of our discussions in the comment's section of an older post of yours. We discussed how heart transplant patients had newly acquired similarities with the deceased donor. Maybe there's more "brain" in our physical hearts than we suspect.

My mother became addicted to Louis L'Amour books. I would never have thought it...her either, I suppose, as she had no inclination toward westerns other than the movie star studs portraying the cowboys (John Wayne).

Regarding "Brokeback Mountain", I particularly enjoy the film that Ang Lee has direct. Haven't seen "Life of Pi" yet...maybe it'll be on airwave TV someday. I read the book and would recommend it...I've read that Lee did a great job with the production of the film.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes I remember that conversation. The human heart is as mysterious as the human brain, we know so much on one level yet so little on another about the hows and whys of us.

I haven't read any Louis L'Amour, stopped reading about the Old West after Michener and McMurtry - thought I'd experienced the best and didn't want to spoil it. :-)

We saw Life of Pi on HBO a few months ago. I didn't not like it, but didn't think it worthy of the adulation it had been given.
I even found it a bit boring in parts. But then I'm not a lover of (what to call 'em?) art-house type movies, husband is but even he wasn't overly impressed by Life of Pi.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Up until the late 1930's/early 40's, my father's family owned a working-ranch, where he grew up surrounded by a strange combination of artists/musicians, intellectuals and cowboys. One of his relatives (his grandfather's bother, I think) was included in at least one well-known book, having been considered one of the greatest cowboys who ever lived (great being a relative term). In any case, a lot was expected of my father from a very young age. As a child, he was often sent out (alone) to round up strays, a job that every once in a while landed him in risky situations and/or forced him to spend the night away from home.

Until the day he died (and when he wasn't working), he mostly wore cowboy boots and occasionally a cowboy hat. When he passed away (on his living room floor, with martini glass in hand), the police officer who found him commented, after observing his row of hats neatly lined up across the back of his living room couch (beneath his portrait of a galloping horse), what an 'interesting' person he must have been! That was an understatement.:)

I inherited his fondness for Westerns (loved the Lonesome Dove series) and cowboy boots, but not the hat. Though I've purged most of the shoes from my former life, I still own 4 pairs of beloved cowboy boots and when I'm not wearing my other favorite pair (my tennis shoes for walking), I'm most likely in my boots.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Oh how wonderful to have real cowboys in your family tree! I love that your Dad passed away holding a martini glass, not exactly a cowboy tipple, but still - that is most certainly the way to go! :-)

I love the look of cowboy boots and have heard people say that they really are comfortable. One of these days I shall dare to try some on in a store.

LB said...

Twilight ~ If you ever do invest in a pair of cowboy or western boots, in my experience, the style of boot shown in the first photograph of the following link has the most comfortable toe and heel, *and* it looks good with pants or skirts:

Even when I worked as an office manager, I still wore my boots from time to time.

mike (again) said...

Hey,'s a video of Tres Outlaws Boot Company...they are made in el Paso, TX, and have been in our local news. Considered one of the best hand-crafted boot makers and prices range from $800 to $75,000...yes, $75K. They make boots for the Hollywood elite wannabes. The inside of the boots are just like the outside designs.

Some of the fancier boots that I've seen for guys remind me of purse equivalents...LOL. Guess they're for honky-tonking and Sunday-best wear.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Thanks, I shall remember that.

Twilight said...

mike & LB ~
We used to visit an antique store in Nocona, Texas on Highway 82 (store has since closed). Close to the store was a closed-down HQ and factory of Nocona Boots, which I understand were a popular brand at one time. I think the boots are still around, but manufactured elsewhere now. I hope it's not China, but that wouldn't surprise me.

mike (again) said...

I found this about Nocona, Twilight:

The Nocona Boot brand is owned by Justin Brands, Inc., an American manufacturing company based in Fort Worth, Texas. According to an article published by the University of North Texas, the Nocona Boot Company plant in Nocona, Texas was closed in 1999 and all boot-making operations were moved to plants in El Paso, Texas and Cassville, Missouri.

And this is on Nocona's home page (

© 2014 Nocona Boots, a Berkshire Hathaway company.

mike (again) said...

I responded too quickly. When I saw ownership by Berkshire Hathaway, I knew China was involved. I bet all of the boots are made in China now. The following is a statement dated 2010.


"As of 2010, almost all Justin boots are made in three places. The majority of Justin boots are made overseas. According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, 75 to 80 percent of all Justin boots are made either in China or Mexico. The remaining boots are made in the Justin Company's home city of Fort Worth, Texas."

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Very sad, but not surprising. Thanks for your research. Let's hope Mexico makes the majority of boots sold in the USA - I somehow don't mind seeing "made in Mexico" as much as "made in China". They were traditionally good at leather work in Mexico anyway I think.

I was similarly disappointed to find my Sperry Angelfish deck-style shoes (only kind I wear these days) were now made in China. Sperry's, like Nocona Boots were a good old US brand once upon a time, now:

In 2012, Sperry, along with Keds, Stride Rite and Saucony, became part of Wolverine World Wide after a joint agreement with Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital acquired the Performance Lifestyle Group of Collective Brands for US$1.23 billion. This effectively makes Sperry a sister company of Sebago, their main rival.

Dang! Is nothing sacred anymore?

LB said...

mike ~ Wow, thanks for those links. Some of those boots are beautiful, definitely works of art, though you pay for the quality and workmanship. In one of the towns we visit on the weekend, beautiful, used (and affordable) cowboy boots can be found on consignment. Not that I need another pair.

As an aside, I'd hate to see shoemaking become a lost art in this country. Recently, I had my favorite pair of cowboy boots re-heeled, and it ended up being easier to find someone out of town to do the work. We live in a trend-driven, throw-away world.:(