Even Cowgirls get the Blues.

I never particularly liked horses after having been scraped through the lilacs by an out of control roan, disguised as a “gentle mare,” while my relatives roared. And later, bitten by a greedy equine wanting my cotton candy at the fair . . . But shoes, boots and hats would take up the closets of my life.

Who doesn’t love cowboy boots? Boots like Chili are best found in their native habitat – the southwest and hotter than hell – but here on the east coast we make do with what we have and have fun with it.

Into recycling, I haunt the second-hand stores and re-sale stores, yard sales and junk shops. New boots are pricey even on sale, beautiful as they may be, I go for serendipitous found objects. I use them for costuming and not all that often so I can play with colors and wear them occasionally. My first pair of cowboy boots came from the free box at a Hospice Thrift Store . . . What a find, I almost felt guilty taking them, FREE.

I wanted a pair of turquoise boots but could only find a spray paint in Chevy body paint, a soft blue-green. So I overlaid that lightly with purple and even though the boots are getting a bit sad, I’m still wearing them.

Growing up wearing sensible brown shoes with white socks and taking care of younger brothers and sister, painting cowboy/cowgirl boots wasn’t even in my viewfinder . . . Ballet slippers were the only thing we painted to go with costumes I didn’t want to wear. Oh, the Eisenhower years were so dull as veterans came home to make lives, marry and have children.

The adult me still loves costumes and I can throw something together for Halloween, like fortune teller Madam Zenobia, tarot card reader Zoey Ravenwood, Belly Dancer Sasha, Black Witch, Pirate, Summer Solstice Ice Cream Socials and Winter Solstice Bohemian Bouillabaisse parties, Island Girls birthday parties, Mid-Summer’s Night Dream garden parties.

Invite your friends, let your imagination go, wear a costume and have fun with it. Get a big hat and funky shoes and you are half way there!
Mix up a pitcher of martinis, dirty, one olive and serve with sushi, old Agatha Christie films with Hercule Poirot, painted nails, toes and fingers in Pop-arazzi red, morally outrageous Frida Kahlo earrings . . . and cowboy boots. Let your hair down, put on a hat, feather boa and sunglasses and work on your novel or write poetry with erratic and suspicious meter.

Back to boots. You’ve got to find them first. Then decide on a color or colors for your boots. Next, mask off the heels and soles with masking tape carefully adhering the tape to the area to be protected. Spray paint is good for covering the entire boot area.

Details can be made with artists’ brushes and acrylic paints. If you don’t like your first try just paint over it. It is best to use a light hand so the paint is not too heavy and thick and more apt to peel off or flake with use. A little wear will make it look natural.

If you are happy with the base color, the next decision is what details to paint and what color or colors. Do you want subtle or bold? Where are you going to wear them? I find cowboy boots have two seasons: Spring and fall, summers are too hot and winters are too slippery for smooth bottomed boots.

Painted boots are just plain fun and they make me smile, feel funky, out of the ordinary, creating my own style that won’t be found at Wal-Mart or L.L. Bean. Boots can be worn with jeans or that little black dress.

Buy boots in a size you can wear unless passing the boots on to friends as gifts, sometimes with a matching hat and a favorite book.

Go line dancing with friends. Chase those blues away, cowgirl! Makes me think of one of my favorite books from the 70s, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins.
I have an autographed copy!

I need a bootjack and I could make one but haven’t, and never think of it until it’s time to take a snug pair of boots off. I remember my dad every time with his boot jack outside the kitchen door where he took off his barn boots and overalls. Oh, my, my, so long ago.

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