Nearly free boots survive the years

By Don McAlavy: CNJ Columnist

Let’s see, how long have I worn those boots of mine? Well, the first boots I bought at Joe’s Boot Shop was when he was in Muleshoe. Joe used to live out in the country southwest of town and made boots at his farm-ranch for customers that found out that Joe could really make good boots.

But it was when he moved his boot business to Clovis out on Mabry Drive and he expanded into clothing, mostly cowboy stuff, that I bought a second pair of his good boots.

The reason I bought the boots that day was because the Citizens Bank called me and wanted to know the exact date when the Citizens Bank first opened their doors for business. The bank wanted to celebrate the many years they had been in business and needed the exact date. Apparently the bank’s staff had lost the exact date the bank had opened on Grand Avenue and Main Street.

Of course this was now when they had moved over on Pile and 5th Street in their new beautiful round bank building. Knowing Lynell Skarda, I did my banking with him. I did track down the exact date of the formal opening of the Citizens Bank. It was Saturday, March 25, 1916. It took me some time to discover that particular date. You know, Lynell Skarda gave me a $60 check for coming up with the date. The way I did it was to dig into the old Clovis Journal newspapers. (Citizens Bank had been in business 90 years.)

Well, what to you think I did with that $60 check? Of course I ran over to Joe’s Boot Shop and by then Joe had a big barn back of the main building and he had a big deal on the many boots he had out there. My daughter, Kimberly, helped me find the pair of boots that would suit me fine. I looked over all the boots and there were hundreds of them. I tried on about 25 pairs of them. Then I stumbled on to a black pair of bull hide boots. I tried them on and I walked out of there wearing those bull hide boots.

Of course I plunked down that $60 check that I got from Citizens Bank. The price of that pair of boots was $63. I almost fainted. I had only three dollars and a few pennies left in my pocket. Wasn’t that a good deal?

Ever since that day, and I don’t know remember the date, I have been wearing them bull hide boots and even took them to Florida where my wife and I found some of our kids down there, mostly all grown and some of them had babies, and now they are grown.

Since I’ve been here in Florida four years I have had to have new soles put on those boots — two times leather soles, and a year ago I had my boot repair man put on hard rubber soles and heels. The brand was Vibram. It’s Joe Rhodes’ bull hide boots that have kept me going. The bull hide has never worn out! When I get back I’ll thank Joe, the Boot Man!

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: