Cowboy Boots on Chimney Rock

I learned long ago the correct way to hike the trail to Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch in the Rockies of northern New Mexico. I knew I needed water, a jacket for rain, sunscreen (although in 1971, when I was six, we called it tanning lotion or sun block - and we only used it at the pool), and sensible, rugged shoes. Footwear absolutely needed to be ankle height, if not higher, with strong laces and a traction-optimized tread. Twisting an ankle always loomed as a real threat, and a good, solid lace-up boot would help prevent that. Snakebite, by a prairie rattler or the dreaded diamondback rattler, could not only wreck a vacation, it could take a life.  As a child I had no choice in the matter. When we hiked Chimney Rock, I wore my Red Wing hiking boots, which were perfectly serviceable. 

My love of cowboy boots came from my very first pair of Acme harness boots. I got them as a young boy in Nebraska, and they helped me feel independent, strong, protected, and stylish. I lost track of those boots, and really didn’t have another pair until late into high school, at which time I was too cool to wear them -- city kids just didn’t wear boots. We left ‘wearin’ shit kickers’ to the country boys.  I chuckle when I return to Nebraska now, because with enough distance, I can see that my hometown has and probably had plenty of room for cowboy boots.

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Confessions of a Traveling Author

by Nancy King

 

Author, Nancy King. Photo by Linda Dickson.

I’m an author, Nancy King—no relation to Stephen King—but if I were, this story might be different.  As it is, I travel to independent bookstores in nearby cities, each time hoping I will find a room full of people waiting to hear what I have to say about my new novel, Changing Spaces, and wanting to buy my books. 

In one bookstore, a few people wander up to the display, pick up copies of my books and thumb through the pages. This is promising, I think. There aren't many people, but at least looking and thumbing are a prelude to buying.  I grin broadly when a petite, well-dressed woman approaches me.  “Are you the author?”

“Yes," I reply expectantly.

“I don’t read,” she announces. 

Stunned, I say the first thing that comes to mind. “What do you do?”

“I write novels,” she says, looking pleased with herself. 

“What do you write about?” I ask, not really interested, but grateful that someone is talking with me.

“Well, I don’t really know.” She looks at me, as if expecting me to tell her what she writes.

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