Tuesday 22 April 2014

Preferences & Principles

As I visit people and places, I’m asked sometimes where I got my boots. I’ve had dental surgeons and physicists tell me they used to wear them, but I can't imagine a reason why they would have stopped. Once you wear cowboy boots regularly, it's really hard to go back to "normal" shoes.

I've always loved horses and riding (western style). That's how pointed toe boots came about in the first place - on account of the stirrups. Meanwhile, good boots can get really expensive - costing as much as a car - but any good pair that fit properly will spoil your feet. In the past, I also got into the fancy dress stuff with yoked shirts, domed pearl snaps, carved leather belts and big shiny buckles, but I'm more conservative today.

I don't want to look like Roy Rogers although I still really admire him. He and Dale were truly wonderful people. He came to town many years ago to open one of his restaurants. It was on the north side of Dundas just west of Dixie. He was called “King of the Cowboys” and he was the best rider in the movies on his golden palomino "Trigger." I got to shake Roy's hand and he gave me an autographed picture. I'll never forget it.

There aren't very many saddle shops around anymore, but by ooincidence, there is a particularly good one right here in Cooksville, Ontario: Trdak’s Western Wilderness & Workwear Outfitters. You can find great shirts and boots there. They’re on the north side of Dundas - just down a spell, west of Hurontario (right next to the bus stop at 5 & 10). All kinds of people from miles around go to Trdak’s, because it’s the only place that stocks the specialized apparel. It’s like stepping through a time portal when you walk through that front door. I also really like visiting Joe (the owner). He has the best stories!

I never owned any Charlie Pride records or Patsy Cline, although I did like The Flying Burrito Brothers. Those guys (including Chirs Hillman and Gram Parsons) were a mixed up bunch of talented guys trying to play a rebellious kind of country, but they sure didn’t live up to Roy Rogers’ extraordinary wholesomeness.

My interest was about the down home honesty, integrity and traditional, hard-working characters associated with the western lifestyle. There are hints of it in films like The Electric Horseman (with Robert Redford) and even No Country For Old Men (with Josh Brolin). The celebration of ethics and virtue are incorporated in those films even if there are negaive aspects within the context. Well, Roy Rogers himself always said you need the valleys of sadness to appreciate the sunshine on the mountain top.

While at University, I may have looked a little out of place like Llewelyn Moss at a boat show, but what are you supposed to look like when you are studying Restoration Poetry or 18th Century novels? I certainly didn't want to dress like Dr. Samuel Johnson. That would have been crazy.

My favourite music ranges from Stravinsky to Miles Davis. My favourite artists range from Jan Van Eyck to William Holman Hunt (and a bunch of modern digital illustrators). My favourite authors include William Gaddis and Malcolm Lowry. My favourite footwear is cowboy boots. That's all. 

Do your preferences indicate what sort of person you are? Perhaps. Do they influence your actions and their consequences - not so much. Such philosophy is more about what you stand for - not what you stand on.

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