The illustrious Bean Boot will always call to mind one of my greatest childhood memories. I was the type of kid that once I decided I wanted to do something (riding a bike, learning to read, rollerblading) I took it on full speed, which undoubtedly ended in heaps of frustration and loads of band-aids. I remember one day getting ready for school and waiting for my mom to tie my shoes, however she was preoccupied with the little hellion know as my younger brother, having an epic fit. Right then and there I decided that having your “mommy” tie your shoes was for babies, and I was no baby. So I rounded up all the shoes in the house and set to the task of trying to tie them. Well I quickly came to find that tying ones shoes is one of those many things in life that when you see someone else doing it, it looks like a piece of cake, but once its in your hands… not so much. I am also left-handed which complicates things further when right-handed people try to teach you how to do something.
This whole thing really started to tick me off and I started throwing the shoes down the stairs (mom not so keen on that). I went off to my room (by choice of course, not because I was told too) and while I was sitting on my bed, I was so disappointed that I could not tie my shoes, that it was just tearing me up inside. Then, it came to me I would ask the solver of all problems, the fixer of all things broken, the teacher of all essential life skills… my dad.
As soon as daddy came through the door that night I begged him to teach me how to tie my shoes. With perfect patience he sat down on the stairs with me and slipped off his bean boots. I took one and he the other and we sat there as he showed me over and over again how to make the loop, tie it around and pull it through. Every once in a while he would slip in one of his favorite little remarks “ Look I can do it and I’m not even left handed” Thanks dad, you’re hilarious (Not). What I came to later realize was that the bean boot was the key to the whole lesson (which of course he knew) because the laces on them are thinner and they are that wonderful strong woven material so they were much easier for my little hands to manipulate, then simply pull to untie and restart the process. I spent hours sitting on the steps with those boots tying and untying them, then when I perfected it, I demanded that dad let me tie his boots for him every time he put them on.
Bean boots will always remind me of my dad, the consummate outdoorsman, they will always flood me with the feeling of love for him and of all the many things he taught me to do. As I write this I am wearing my bean boots, and even though they don’t have Thinsulate or Gore-Tex and they are a smidge too big, I will always love them because dad sent them to me. In his mind there is no other winter boot worth buying. My first winter in New England on the morning of the first snow storm I opened a package from LL Bean and there they were with a note “Hopefully you still know how to tie these- Love Dad”