Oh, how I wanted a pair of boots

Published 12:33 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The ad appeared at the edge of my computer screen. It popped up for a few seconds before another one took its place.

When it flashed on, I glanced at the picture and started smiling. The photo showed a pair of white boots. They almost reached the model’s knee and sported a high square heel.

“They look like majorette boots,” I whispered. “I love majorette boots.”

Oh, there was a time I so wanted to own a pair of these boots. I imagined strutting down Main Street twirling a baton while the heels of my boots tapped the pavement in time to the band playing behind me.

I was not old enough for strutting or twirling, but I could dream. Every Friday when the football team played at home, there was a parade through downtown Opp. It was the community’s way of showing support.

School let out early and everyone headed for their favorite spot along the parade route. For me, it was the corner at Dean’s Pharmacy, where the parade stopped for a short pep rally.

We waited patiently for the sound of beating drums signaling the band was turning onto Main Street headed our way. Just before they reached the corner, the musicians started playing the Bobcat fight song.

Out in front of the band, the majorettes, walking in a straight line, begin their performance. Their batons spun so fast they were almost a blur. I stared in wonder.

Then the head majorette stepped out in front of the others and did a baton-twirling solo. The crowd cheered, the drums beat louder and my little heart fell into the drum rhythm as I watched her toss the baton into the air. While it traveled up, she spun around and as it made its way down, she reached out a hand to make a perfect catch.

At that, the crowd went wild and I joined in, clapping my hands so hard they hurt. After the cheerleaders led everyone in a few cheers, the parade moved down the street.

Later in the backyard with my own child-sized baton, I pretended I was the head majorette standing in front of a cheering crowd. With precision, I tossed my baton and attempted a graceful spin. Many, many times, my performance ended with a conk in the head from the falling baton. I did not mind because in my imagination, I heard hands clapping and voices cheering. I picked up the baton and marched proudly around the yard.

Sometimes I rolled the waistband to shorten my pleated skirt, slipped on my Dale Evans cowgirl boots (they transformed into majorette boots when needed) and took my parade to the front sidewalk. Every now and again, I talked my brothers into being my back up band, using a sand bucket for a drum and a toy flute for a horn.

We were surely a sight tromping up and down East Park Avenue on a fall Friday afternoon. I wonder if Mother got comments from neighbors who watched the spectacle from behind their blinds — probably laughing.

The closest I came to being a majorette was playing the triangle in Mrs. Jackson’s Kindergarten rhythm band. I had the cute short skirt that looked a lot like the ones the majorettes wore, but alas, no boots.

In the midst of my remembering, the ad for the boots popped up again. I guess it was on a rotation that brought the picture back around every so often. My finger rested on the mouse button, a click away from traveling to the website where those boots lived.

One click and I could own a pair of white boots almost like the coveted majorette boots of my youth. However, you cannot go backward. Life moves us on.

Besides, I really liked the fringed boots that popped up when the white ones disappeared. They looked almost like the ones the hippies wore back in the day. Oh how I wanted to own a pair of those boots …

Nancy Blackmon is a writer and yoga teacher.