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Boots are an evocative part of living in the West. Thousands of tourists flock here each year for the Cowboy Experience, which often entails buying some boots and a hat.

Much of the ethos surrounding the cowboy boot is firmly based in the practical.

The high heels on cowboy boots, keep your foot from sliding through the stirrup and trapping you atop an out of control animal who outweighs you, and is sometimes uninclined to pay attention to what you are asking of it.

The high shaft is meant to keep your ankles from being scratched by rough terrain, or rubbed raw by the stirrup and like the Wellies the Brits wear, keep anything "unsavory" from soaking your feet.

Ultimately though, it is working footwear that has been elevated with embellishments over the years. Many young cowboys of earlier times were a little vain, so if they could afford a pair of boots with decorative stitching, a silk bandana, unlike the cotton one they used to keep the dust out of their mouths when they were working, and a special hat that didn't look like it had been lost in the corral and stomped on several times, they were ready to hit the town.

Cowboy boots are a good reminder for us to be practical, but not exclude the whimsical. Stated simply, I am a big fan of putting lipstick on a pig. It doesn't hurt anybody and it can make us all smile.

I am all for things that make us laugh as long as they are not unkind. It is a special gift to be able to find humor in this world. It keeps us from despairing. When we lose our sense of humor, we lose a part of our soul.

The next time you see some cowboy boots in the store window, smile because they are beautiful and practical. So many things in our world today are neither.

Yee Haw! Cowboy Up!

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