I don't remember the long wait for my mail order to come back, but eventually it did and I had, finally, FINALLY! leather riding boots.
They went heels-down and toes-in for many a horse-show. (And every so often they went ass-over-tea-kettle, but that's horseback riding for you.)
I re-heeled and re-soled them at least once when working in Manhattan, as I tended to wear them with my –– er–– eccentric clothing choices (I thought I looked good, and no photo will prove me wrong) as a young Manhattanite.
They moved with me to Florida, where they once carried me fleetly away from the kicking feet of a pair of mustangs who were –– as I learned –– not even remotely green-broke, no matter what the barn owner had promised.
Alas. I recently went to put them on.
And this despite my care. Despite the cleaning and oiling.
Despite being stored carefully in a cool dark place.
Despite the rolled magazines that kept the boots from wrinkling.
Does this seem like an ironic and pitiless metaphor for aging to anyone else? Or is it just me?
Oh well. After the initial shock, I considered my options.
These faithful and long-suffering boots could go straight into the garbage. They deserved retirement.
But then again, given that things do change, and not all change is catastrophic and bad, perhaps there was another way.
Half-boots they are now, with snake-proof gaiters to go with. They may hold on for another season. Or not. Now, to horse...