A Blog by Gail Cushman and Cowboy Bob
Well, we’ve had quite an adventure, my Idaho Lady and me. We crossed the Atlantic in the biggest boat I have ever been on. Twelve hundred of our closest friends joined us to eat all kinds of fancy fixin’s made in the ship galley like shrimp and other seafood, pork chops, big steaks, and, of course, pasta. The big boat also had a few bands to enjoy, but they seemed kind of stuck in the 70s, didn’t know any C/W, which, of course, meant no “two steppin’” music, so we danced good old slow dances, just a couple of old fools alone on the dance floor. Then, she would get a glass of wine and we would go out on deck and watch submarine races in the moonlight of the north Atlantic.
When we finally docked the big boat, this old cowboy saw more old churches and cobblestone streets than I have ever imagined. We went through parts of five countries and missed two more, Monaco and Tunisia. We got off the ship in Italy and spent five days in Rome at the end of our trip. I took notice of the countryside and the small farms as we were carted around to the various tourist hot spots and asked questions as much as my limited Portuguese, Spanish, French or Italian would allow about these farms. It seems as though most have been in the family for centuries, and now family members work other jobs in town to buy groceries, cars, or just pay bills. Sounded familiar.
We saw places in Rome that were old, not our kind of old, like the 1904 treaty ceding land from the Crow to the Government and then to homesteaders, but a thousand years old, or even two thousand years. It is hard to imagine the Roman empire, the establishment of Christianity, the flourishing of the arts and this history that is captured in Rome. The beauty of the church buildings, the art, and sculptures amazed me, and I could write many pages about them, but one thing I got was Italian design and beauty, and boys, I tell you, the Italians have got fashion down in spades. Our hotel was a small place, beautiful, great colors and furnishings, and a bathroom that had every fixture known to man, and some only known to women, and I didn’t ask, but I did think it would be a great little bath for sore feet. This hotel was close to the Spanish Steps, a major landmark and place of beauty, with a wide cobblestone square. A fountain was on one side and down the other was a line of stores that had every major brand, Dior, Gucci, and Prada to name but a few, but no Carhartt.
As I sat drinking a cup of Americano coffee, which is stronger than day-old camp coffee, I watched a young lady in six-inch heels and a little black dress walk across those cobblestones carrying a big bag marked Dior in one hand and one marked Prada in the other, and she never missed a step on those cobblestones. She strutted like a supermodel on a carpet runway, head up, under a very stylish hat and sunglasses. She never looked down and was as smooth as a gaited horse. Those curves moved in all the right directions if you know what I mean. Now you may think I am a dirty old man for this observation, but boys, she was a sight, and I came away with a new-found respect for fashion.
As we walked down this gauntlet of expensive shops and looked through the windows, to my shock and surprise, I told my Idaho Lady, “Hold it, look here!” I pointed at a pair of five-buckle overshoes, same as at Big R or D & B, but with polished chrome buckles and a Vibram sole. The mannequin wore an old Stetson cowboy hat and some pretty fancy duds including a pair of white socks that stuck out the top of the overshoes with the name DIOR. A price list below in the windowsill said those boots were $2,600 Euro, which for rough figures is about $2,700 U.S.
Now I got an idea, I am going to Big R in Billings, buy some pairs of overshoes for 29 bucks, paint up those buckles with a can of “super chrome,” go to my bootmaker and have him glue on a pair of thick Vibram soles and sell them puppies for 500 bucks with a “Made in Montana” sticker. As an added bonus, I’ll throw in a pair of white socks with “BOB” stenciled across the top as accessories. What do you think?
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