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Boots On A Fencepost

Melissa Sandfort

We all have traditions. Whether it be gathering at Thanksgiving, sitting down to the dinner table as a family, or the passing of the bride’s hand by her father, traditions have become customs and beliefs we pass down from generation to generation. Cowboys also have traditions, one of which involves old, worn-out boots.

Have you ever seen a rickety fence lined with old boots and tennis shoes? It looks like the fence is about to fall over from wear. It’s as tired as the old shoes that decorate it. But there’s a reason for that.

Many ranchers wear cowboy boots and like everything else, they eventually wear out. Ranchers are very resourceful and when this happens — they put the boots on top of the posts to keep them covered and prevent rain water from seeping into the posts and rotting them out.

Sometimes, a rancher will put boots on the fencepost to honor the passing of a beloved horse, a hired hand or fallen comrade. Also, before telephones were invented, a rancher would indicate he was home and the workday was over by hanging boots on the fence.
So, I have good reason to leave my old sneakers outside the back door. I am just letting people know I’m home. Call it tradition.

Until we walk again…