The LL Bean boot is the footgear that started the empire. It was perfectly normal for me to slide these on over thick wool socks, and tuck my dress pants into the leather uppers. This was okay to do in the Northeast. It is not in the Midwest. Some of my nurses, those who became familiar enough with me to find humor in my actions, found it hilarious to the point of pointing fingers and guffawing. They no longer work for me, but not for this reason.
Truthfully, it is a bit of an affectation because rarely does snow ever reach so high that this is necessary, and most places that I frequent are either indoors or cleared of snow. I did not grow up wearing these in Florida.
I could have many choices of footgear for the snow, but I really like these boots. This despite the fact that they are not all that warm, especially compared to a modern snow boot. In college, in the midst of serious preppies, I found that this is what you wear when you want to take your yellow labrador retriever for a walk in the snow up in your cottage in Vermont. It is permissible to wear jeans for this, but only blue, lightly faded, and only Levi’s.
Otherwise, you presented yourself within the dress code of your prep school or country club. It was my prep school, then Ivy League college education, that made me a fair mimic of the Prince of Wales, sartorially.
It was also important for me to fit in, and I did not want my clothes to be a barrier. Now that I am wise I realize that people who make clothing a barrier aren’t all that wonderful to be around. But that is the difference about living in the midwest and living out East.
In general, but not as a rule, you have a hard time finding a professional job out East without some kind of Ivy League cred. You might say the same about state schools and the old boy networks, and I found that to be just as stifling when I lived in the south, but that was it -in the south, the old boy networks are very important, but so far, to my experience, not here.
Living here in the Midwest, I have found that these elitist codes, and membership and employment in the satrapies of myopic nabobs who find delight in surrounding themselves with other similar people, don’t work. Some of my patients haven’t a clue what Harvard or Columbia are. Or why it is wearing Bean boots with your khaki Chinos tucked in, all while you’re bundled in fashionable, primary-colored layers, wrapped in a Burberry oil skin hunting jacket which identified you as a member of the elite out East, just makes you a curious fellow here in Des Moines -someone overly involved with looking like they’re about to shoot some pheasants, but absent a shotgun, a pickup truck, or a dog.
These boots are now just useful, waterproof footwear, like they were meant to be.
I find living here in the midwest as close to heaven as I can imagine, especially when I contemplate the great golf that is coming my way this spring. Here I live, and here I will be buried.