\”Just because your cat has kittens in the oven,\” the old-timers around here say, \”you don\’t call them biscuits.\” Meaning that it takes more than just living here to be a real Vermonter.
I accept this, but have not abandoned Vermontishness as my goal. I do my best by buying potatoes at the farmers\’ market, attending game suppers, buying clothes at the village rummage sale, and shipping gallons of Vermont Grade B (the darkest and most flavorful) maple syrup to friends and family.
But if you\’re trying to approach true Vermontishness, it\’s important to look the part. And a big part of that is boots.
When my husband and I were house hunting in Vermont, I was amazed at the boot collections that I saw in people\’s mud rooms and closets. There were big boots and little boots, light boots and heavy boots, tall and short, leather and rubber, barn and town boots. Why, I wondered, did Vermonters own so many boots?
In Maryland, I remember owning only two pairs of boots, one for hiking, and one for direst winter but still fashionable wear. But once I moved to Vermont, I quickly acquired a couple of pairs of boots with snow-tire treads for walking in the icy woods, and one super-insulated pair for sub-zero days. For semi-dress, snow-and-ice occasions, I bought two pairs–one black, one brown–of fuzzy on the outside, furry on the inside low-heeled boots.
I also own a pair of up-to-the-knee no-nonsense rubber boots for cleaning out the hen house, and a shorter pair of bright blue ones for walking on the rail trail when spring turns the world to slush.
So far, my seven pairs of boots had fulfilled my needs. They were not particularly flattering, but they kept me mobile in most weathers. But global warming has arrived in the north country. Last year we had very little snow or ice, so my fuzzy, furry, low-heeled boots were de trop. I realized that now in Vermont there were many weeks cold enough to justify wearing boots, but not so snowy and icy as to demand the prudent low-heeled, fuzzy kind.
Accordingly, I now own an additional two pairs–one black, one brown–of moderately high-heeled, moderately fashionable boots to wear during the mid-Atlantic weather that seems to have become the norm in Vermont.
The winters may no longer feel so Vermontish, and I know I\’ll always be a kitten, but with the help of time and appropriate footwear, I\’m coming closer to that golden, flaky, biscuit look.
Love it.This is, of course, in direct opposition to Texas. As long as you like Texas, you can be a Texan. That's the only requirement.
Right now there are four pairs of my boots in the front hall, plus a pair of hiking shoes, as I cut back from boots to shoes on my last purchase of those. Two nice-looking practical pair that I can wear in the city if need be—one to replace the first I still can't bear to toss; the pair of wellies I keep thinking of blogging about; and my fabulous pair of LLBeans, insulated and gatored. Back in MD, I remember telling Tim I needed a life in which I needed to wear more boots. And here I am.
And almost a biscuit!
Wow. So many boots … I'm such a city kid now, that I don't even own any gumboots (rubber boots/wellies). But I can understand the need for so many boots. It's like my need for so many pairs of black shoes – my husband doesn't get it, but there is an occasion and season for each pair.
You can never have too many black shoes, or pants, or skirts, or…
I have a few pairs of boots but don't get to wear them much. I guess I need to visit you again.
And during the wet or mud seasons!
I didn't get to wear my boots much during my last few years in Maryland either…or even my winter coat.
Preciate the anecdotes, I'm fishing for origins and illuminations for the \”kittens and biscuits\” colloquialism way up here in downeast maine where men harbor larger boot collections than their wives do heels.