subtitled: It’s all about the boots.The old Army uniform is rapidly approaching its “wearout-date” – the last date it can be worn. Out with the old uniform go too the black boots that required hours of polishing.
Old uniform. Bill in Kosovo.
The new uniform is comfortable (Bill refers to them as pajamas), low-maintenance (no ironing or starching allowed), and is accompanied by tan, sueded boots that need no polish. While I’m sure no one is sad to see an end to hours of ironing (or the expense of dry cleaning) or the effort at keeping boots spit-shined, I don’t think many people would argue that the new uniforms are “sharp.” The old uniforms with their heavy starch, tight creases, and polished boots gave an air of discipline and attention to detail that the low maintenance uniform can not project.
On Friday, Bill had himself a “retro day.” He dug out an old uniform and put on his favorite pair of boots. These aren’t just any boots, no sir, these are custom fit Dehner tanker boots
bought back when he was an unmarried Second Lieutenant and payday cash seemed so abundant and the “Payment Due” date on student loans seemed so far away and the idea of saving pennies to buy an engagement ring for a girlfriend seemed much less important than having THE coolest boots a young armor officer could.
Bill’s boots. Bill’s feet.
From the company’s website: This boot style was designed by Dehner’s own H. E. Ketzler and General George S. Patton Jr. in 1937. Made for Patton’s Tank Corp, he wanted something easy and fast to get on, yet still giving firm ankle support. He of course turned to the Craftsmen at Dehner’s to fill the bill!
I remember Bill carefully measuring his foot and lower leg. I remember him debating the options and considering the extra cost of an inch more leather. I remember tsking my disapproval at the extravagance – after all, a diamond ring was much more practical.
But boy, oh boy, were they sexy. His new ones, which he got as a 38th – 43rd birthday present (snicker: he turns 40 this year), just don’t have the same appeal. Those black Dehners are 15 years old now, and it’s sad to see them retired. They are a bit worn, despite being reserved for indoor wear only, so they would have to go anyway.
“Go.” Not really. They’ll be one of the few things I would never suggest tossing.