A gift fit for a princess

The Covington News - - OPINION - PAULA TRAVIS COLUM­NIST Paula Travis is a re­tired teacher from the New­ton County School Sys­tem. She can be reached at ptravis@cov­news.com.

My youngest grand­daugh­ter asked me for a pair of boots for Christ­mas. Want­ing to clar­ify her re­quest, I asked if she meant cow­boy boots. She looked at me as only a child can look at an adult when the adult has not grasped what is ob­vi­ous to the child, and she said firmly, “No, grand­mamma, cow GIRL boots.

As any grand­mother, I am no stranger to off­beat Christ­mas re­quests from grand­chil­dren. I have bought things from drum sets to pogo sticks. Those may not sound like es­o­teric re­quests to you, but re­mem­ber I have all grand­daugh­ters.

My son-in-law was not happy with the drum set, es­pe­cially as it fol­lowed a talk­ing Raggedy Ann doll. That doll was pos­sessed and would be­gin talk­ing for no rea­son at all in the mid­dle of the night. That lit­tle girl’s voice chat­ting away in the dark was un­nerv­ing to the par­ents of two lit­tle girls. Raggedy Ann was fol­lowed by a stuffed an­i­mal in Egyp­tian dress that danced and sang “Walk Like an Egyp­tian.” It was a sou­venir of the King Tut ex­hibit. My grand­chil­dren loved it, but their par­ents grew to detest it.

Any­way, this re­quest for cow­girl boots was the first I had had from my youngest grand­daugh­ter. Pre­vi­ously, she had been happy with what­ever she re­ceived. So, I was de­ter­mined to get those boots.

Be­cause I did not want to pur­chase boots with­out her first try­ing them on, I picked her up af­ter school one day and we went shop­ping. We went to the places in Cov­ing­ton that I knew sold west­ern wear. But none of them sold chil­dren’s boots. We went to sev­eral big box stores, but no boots. We went home empty-handed.

Ev­ery­one sug­gested we go to a west­ern store in a city near Cov­ing­ton. I was rel­a­tively cer­tain that my grand­daugh­ter’s re­quest for cow­girl boots was a fash­ion state­ment and not a de­sire to take up bar­rel rac­ing so I was re­luc­tant to visit that store.

I told a friend my co­nun­drum, and she sug­gested I try the shoe store right off the square.

I went there one morn­ing with a slim hope that they might have cow­girl boots. And, to my de­light, they did. I was not sure of my grand­daugh­ter’s size or even her taste in cow­girl boots and told the pro­pri­etor Vanessa, my prob­lem.

That was when Vanessa turned into a vi­sion of Santa Claus. She told me that I could bring my grand­daugh­ter in and she could try on the boots that were in the store. When we were sure of a size, my grand­daugh­ter could look at a cat­a­logue and pick out a pair of boots that she wanted. The dis­trib­u­tor was in Ge­or­gia. She would or­der the boots and they would be here within two days.

We were at the store as soon as school was out. The princess, as Vanessa named my grand­daugh­ter, tried on sev­eral pairs of boots and had her foot mea­sured. Then she got to choose what boots she wanted from the pic­tures in the cat­a­logue.

The boots she choose Dolly Par­ton would have been proud to wear 40 years ago at the Grand Ole Opry. They are white and have 3- to 4-inch fringe run­ning down the out­side seams of the boots from the top to just a frac­tion of an inch from the floor. They have fancy stitch­ing and cut-outs which re­veal sparkling sil­ver stars.

I went back two days later in the morn­ing to pick up the boots, and Vanessa told me she had or­dered two sizes to be sure she had the right size and to bring the princess in to try them on.

The princess and I ar­rived, again, shortly af­ter school was over, and I will never for­get my grand­daugh­ter’s face when Vanessa opened that box to re­veal those woe­fully spec­tac­u­lar boots. My grand­daugh­ter was so ex­cited and happy that her face flushed from her cheeks to her hair­line. Thank you, Vanessa, for giv­ing me what is now a cher­ished Christ­mas me­mory.

I hope all of you have a won­der­ful hol­i­day and that you will make a me­mory as won­der­ful as mine.

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