Hidalgo County where I am living is one of the poorest counties in the nation - Addy sent me this link the other day:
How poor is it? It's so poor they rent car tires. Seriously.
But this isn't about tires. It's about Manly Footwear. I have not owned a pair of western boots since my kid brother Kirby died. He had "borrowed" my boots when he was working in Oklahoma, a pair of Tony Lamas and a pair of Justins as I recall. They went up in the fire that took him and it kind of took the wind out of my sails, bootwise - and in a lot of other ways.
It is cold and rainy today so I went for a slow drive. I have passed Gonzales Boots fifty times or more in the past four years. Today I stopped, just killing time. Gonzales has a small shop, "Gonzales Boots - cash only - monthly payment plans available," a couple of dozen boots up front and a workshop in the back. I asked him if he had any size 11's. There were three pair, a dark brown lizard, a pair of black stunners, crocodile I believe, and a pair of round toed, brown Tony Lamas which he had rebuilt, new soles, etc and the previous owner couldn't come up with the cash to retrieve them. I pictured that poor barefoot soul, busted broke, nose pressed against the glass of Gonzales Boots, praying and pining for his old boots.
The new ones were a little more than I was comfortable paying, being only a casual Texan. The Lamas felt pretty good and were so cheap it was silly, I suppose the amount of the rebuild. I asked Senor Gonzales if he had any children. "Si, five." I paid for the boots and peeled off an extra $20 for his kids.