From Pipi’s Pasture: Wearing overshoes
Everyone has been talking about record snowfall this winter, and from what I hear, they’re probably right. However, I’m always amused when I hear talk about a lot of snow in Moffat County because when I grew up on the ranch at Morapos, south of Hamilton, we always had plenty of snow in the winter—FEET of it, in fact—and it seemed to last FOREVER. When the snow crusted we could walk over the top of the buried fences, and our dad, Kenneth Osborn, told of times that the work horses pulled the feed sled across feet of crusted snow.
Yesterday my sister Darlene Blackford of Rocky Ford called me with an idea for Pipi’s Pasture. It was about wearing overshoes in the winter. So this week’s column is dedicated to Darlene. The information in it is based on Darlene’s memories of winter on the ranch.
“Overshoes” is what we called the boots that we wore over our shoes from the time that the first snowfalls started staying on the ground until spring thaw left the ground bare. We wore the overshoes across the trails to do our chores at the corral and chicken house. We wore them to the outhouse and to get to school. By spring we were sick of them!
I have no idea how we figured out what size overshoes to buy because they had to fit over our shoes. One thing is for sure—they were heavy! It was like wearing two pairs of shoes at the same time. Darlene remembers how dirty the insides of the boots got after pulling our shoes on and off inside them. She remembers putting a clean pair of socks in her pocket, and then when she got to school and took off the overshoes she had a clean pair of socks to wear in her shoes.
One year our mother decided that we should wear the buckle overshoes that men and boys wore (remember the kind of boots that men sometimes wear over their cowboy boots these days?). She may have thought it would be easier to pull the overshoes on and off; whatever the case, it was humiliating to wear boys’ style of boots. What could our mother have been thinking?
We girls could hardly wait for spring to arrive so we could shed the overshoes. When the weather warmed up and it started to thaw, like now, and there were bare spots on the road that led to our house, it was delightful to remove the awful boots and step on bare ground. Darlene remembers how light her feet felt to be walking in street shoes only, even if was for a few steps before having to put the snowshoes back on her feet. (See what I mean about the boots being dirty inside?)
On spring afternoons when the graveled road was mostly bare, we girls took off our boots and walked home from school in our shoes. What a treat!
Thanks for sharing your memories of overshoes, Darlene. It makes this year’s spring thaw all that more special.
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