Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Highest Authority

My son has worn Justin work boots and Levis blue jeans almost everyday since he was five, maybe before but I seem to remember hiking boots and cute little boy shoes before then. He is 10 now, so we have been through many, many boots and even more jeans. I, at first, tried to make sure he had shoe alternatives - tennis shoes, dress shoes, Tevas, flip-flops. He never wore any of them unless I "made" him. He goes without shoes whenever he can and he will wear flip flops at the beach, but other than that he is wearing those Justins. I gave up and just let him wear them, making sure he had a nicer pair for nicer occasions that he couldn't wear in the ditches, pastures, and springs.

A junior high school boy that the Pink Panther knows from scouts has a pair of John Deere boots. They have a thicker, knobbier sole and a green upper, but are essentially a work boot, though not a Justin. Pink Panther mentioned, a few weeks ago, that he might like to try John Deere boots because he thought they looked tougher, but he was scared that they would not be as comfortable as his usual. I told him that we would look at them when he outgrew or completely ruined the ones he had.

This weekend Pink Panther spent the night with one of his friends, let's call him Bo. Sunday afternoon they played here and then I drove them back to the Bo's house so they could go bowling with a group of children. Pink Panther said that Bo had gotten some Justin boots, but that he had wanted some of the John Deere boots and his grandmother, who was purchasing the boots, encouraged him to get the Justins because she felt they would be more comfortable. Then Bo said, "My cousin's step-brother's girlfriend's brother said they were real comfortable." Pink Panther said, "I think I'll try them since they're comfortable."

I'll remember that Bo's cousin's step-brother's girlfriend's brother is the ultimate authority on boot comfort next time I purchase boots for myself.

I was not completely surprised by the "cousin's step-brother's girlfriend's brother" because that tradition of making a connection is a country Southern past time. My daddy's father's wife (my grandmother) used to listen and tell the local gossip during her Dr. Pepper and peanut break at the hardware store where the chairs were pulled around so everyone could hear. Clarification and connecting was an integral part of the story. The story wasn't valid if it was prefaced with "I heard," but if authority and connection was established by saying, "My cousin, twice removed, said" or "My neighbor's, brother's wife's sister said" then the story was true and had merit.


mull-berry said...

Did your daddy's father's wife put the peanuts IN her Dr. Pepper? Now that's country! : )

wisteria said...

Yes she did!

Angela, Mother Crone said...

That is something I love about the South. I had a girlfriend from Jackson, MS and every story she told began something like that. Even in college,the concept just transmuted her new local with such beginnings as "My boyfriend's roommate's next-door-neighbor down home said..."

Oh, BTW, you can tell Bo that "my Pennsylvania friend's husband who used to be a calf roper agrees that Ropers are way more comfortable than John Deere Boots." Now he has to were workboots every day on the site, and wishes for a pair of Ropers again!

wisteria said...

Should I send him a pair? We get Pink Panther's Ropers at Williamsville, a local landmark old time country store that still has slab bacon, hoop cheese, real cane syrup, seeds, and wire plus great prices on work clothes.

No one should have to do without Justin Ropers.

wisteria said...

By the way Mull-berry, how did you know? Is there something you're not telling us?

zilla said...

What's hoop cheese, my foodie friend? Enquiring minds want to know.

Loved this.

We do it to some extent up here, too, but I had never considered it was about validation so much as it was about the joy of explanation. Then again, since when do I need validating as much as I need the joy of explaining?

Very cute.

Half tempted to shop for boots :-)

wisteria said...

Hoop cheese is a mildish farmer's cheese(don't hold me to this) that is housed in an enormous round(hoop). A wedge is sliced to your specification upon asking. When I was a young girl, many of the local stores (including my grandparent's) had a hoop, crackers, vienna sausages, and sardines. Working people would make a lunch from these selections and sit around and talk to others.

mull-berry said...

Ok, I'll fess up ... in the early 70's, my family moved to a neighborhood on the edge of town that had a pool, clubhouse and stable. My sister worked at the stable leading trail rides and cleaning stalls, so naturally, I was there all the time, too! Some of the kids there put peanuts in their pop. I can still see them putting the glass bottle of pop on the top of the corral fence and with intense concentration ... pour in the bag of peanuts!

Then ... our school bus driver, Wanda, was the coolest ... she installed a radio and ran the speakers all the way to the middle of the bus ... so for 30-40 bumpy minutes each way, we had tunes! That's when I heard Barbara Mandrell's song about putting peanuts in her Coke, of course, when no one was looking!

wisteria said...

I knew you had practiced being country sometime.