Cowboy Boots and the Cowboy Look
The Cowboy Fantasy
When we were boys growing up in a small cotton mill village many of my friends and I enjoyed watching Westerns on television. In the 1950's with black and white television sets in our homes we were held in awe of the cowboys riding,roping and branding cows. Most wore at least two Colt revolvers on their hips and had a nice Winchester accessory along with a lasso on their saddles. The attire which they wore also included fancy boots with spurs, vests, bandannas and those wonderful hats.
We were held spellbound. Young boys with impressionable minds. The characters in the Westerns immediately became our heroes. They were the good guys standing up for all that was moral and right. The good guys always won out over evil: cattle rustlers, bank robbers and renegade Indians. Not all their conduct was of the goody goody type.Sometimes their behavior bordered on being rambunctious. Drinking and fighting, saloon girls. The image they projected did nothing that would gain particular approval of their behavior. Our parents didn't seem to mind or censor the shows we watched even though some of their conduct and actions veered far from the strict fundamental moral teachings of abstinence and teetotallers which we had been taught were evil and of the devil.
Most of our cowboy heroes frequented those damnable saloons with swinging doors where shots of Red-eye whiskey were as frequent as the gunfights. Our cowboy heroes drank beer with a high heady foam drafted by a mustached bar keeper in a black vest. Those guys could slide those mugs down the the full length of bar the distance of a shuffle board without spilling a drop.The always seemed to be a mirror behind the bar which eventually would be broken by a bar stool or some unfortunate cowpoke who was thrown over the bar when a ruckus broke out. Small wonder some weren't shredded like cheese in those fights.
There was always a piano in those bars. Pretty dance hall girls scantily clad with fancy hair and a lot of paint who had rooms upstairs in the saloon. In those days, the majority of us young buckaroos, we did not have a clue as to why they would choose to have such accommodations. Year later we would hear the song by Tex Ritter, The Night Miss Nancy Ann's Hotel for Single Girls burned down and thanks to puberty, we then knew more than we cared to know or at least more than we wanted our parents to know we knew.
Gunslingers and gunfights sometimes followed the bar room brawl. Good old Marshall Dillon of Gunsmoke was a regular at Miss Kitty's Long Branch Saloon and Maverick, a card shark cowboy whose expertise and knowledge of poker always netted him a pile of chips and a huge roll of money. In the end there was always a disgruntled loser who pulled a a derringer or a six gun and wound up being shot dead or taken to Doc Holliday's for a patch me up. Some shot full of holes were put in Pine boxes and given a free ride to the fabled Boot Hill with no mourners to grieve for him.
Our Christmas letters to Santa would always include at least something pertaining to those men of the Wild West and the clothing and accessories that seemed to set them apart from everyone else. I can remember at least one Christmas when my brother and I got cap guns with nice holsters and how proud we were riding our bikes through the cotton mill village playing cowboy and "injuns" with our friends. The smell of the powder when we shot those toy guns is forever one that remains and even today brings back so many wonderful memories.
As we grew to become teens, our gal-loused overalls transitioned to Levi's and our footwear of choice from sneakers to a pair of nice boots. Being a Southerner and having the influence of Country Western music, many of us opted for nice Western shirts and some even had Western hats. Maybe not a cowboy syndrome but more of a passing fad because they just looked cool!
Cowboy boots tended to be too snug on my feet and crowded my toes. We always would have shoe taps put on the toes and heels which made an awesome sound on hardwood floors and walking down a concrete sidewalk in town. One thing for sure it drew attention and turned heads. Folks could hear us coming with those sharp clicks made by each step we took but best of all they were "Chick magnets." The ladies seem to take a cotton to the Western look.
The Western look is still popular among many young men today. Levi jeans or Carhartt jeans and jackets are very popular here in WNC. Cowboy boots are still popular too among both guys and gals. My sons love boots and the Western look. The memories of our youth of cowboys are precious and the influence and impressions made though sifted through time remain.