“A woman in boots,” the man said. His tone was matter of fact yet carried a hint of surprise.
He was big and burly, good looking, with shoulder-length, Sam Elliot style silver-and-black hair. We were the only two customers in the Lakeville McDonalds at six-thirty a.m. on a Monday morning.
The man’s words hung in the air for a moment and I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. “Every day,” I said, and he grinned in approval. I’d been in the Twin Cities over the weekend for our soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s bridal shower, and was getting ready to hop on the freeway and start the ten-hour drive back to the Black Hills.
I’d bought my first pair of cowboy boots back in 2004 when I was writing my first book. I was walking through Nordstrom at the Mall of America and a pair of brown Frye harness boots caught my eye. Rarely one to splurge, I threw caution to the wind that day and walked out of the mall in boots. We lived in Lakeville at the time and life in the suburbs didn’t afford too many occasions to wear a rockin’ pair of cowboy boots. I worked at the Dakota County District Court, which meant I had a dress code to follow. Every once in a while, however, I’d rebel and wear my boots under a long skirt.
When my husband bought his Harley Davidson motorcycle, I went along with the crowd and wore black boots and a black jacket to match the Harley apparel. And then one day I changed course. My cowboy boots became my Harley boots. I bought a western belt, cowboy hat, and Harley tops that coordinated with my brown accessories. Some of our friends called me a “wannabe” cowgirl and it was true. Tell me, who doesn’t love the sound of bootheels on a boardwalk.
As my writing career progressed, I finally had legitimate reasons to slip on my boots and head west. Research for my books took me to places in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. While writing my third book my husband and I relocated to the Black Hills. It was only natural for me to switch from dress slacks to jeans; from heels to cowboy boots. Still, on our many trips back to the Twin Cities to visit family, this crazy notion would cross my mind that I needed to dress more suburban-ish. You know, dress like other women my age. Yoga pants and tennies. Capris and cute sandals.
And then it hit me, no…that’s not who I am. So there I stood, in the Lakeville McDonald’s at oh-dark-thirty, dressed in my jeans and boots, waiting for my breakfast sandwich.
A woman in boots, he said.
About the Author
Barbara Marshak is the author of four books and over 150 published pieces. A writer of both fiction and nonfiction, many of her pieces have earned regional and national awards.
Her newest novel was released in September 2021. "Painted Skies" is the story of one woman's journey to find healing through her most cherished relationships--an only daughter, a newfound friend, and the charismatic cowboy asking her to trust him.