And for me one of my favourite things (to quote Julie Andrews) is my pair of RM Williams Yearling Boots. The lovely Debra bought them for me for a wedding anniversary present nearly 14 years ago.. and I just love them. In fact for XMAS some 8 years ago she bought me another pair the same.. but I hardly wear those ones. They are for "good" when I need to wear a suit. (Yes I can hear you now.. Mark Taylor in a suit? Actually I have 2 of them.. and it is my ambition not to have to wear them very often between now and when I am dressed in the black one for my "Shuffle from this mortal coil.")
Now my original pair of RM Williams have been with me for many adventures.. but now as they get near to the end of their life, I feel sad. I want to keep them. Perhaps fill them with potting mix and plant some ferns in them for the front verandah. And then every time I would look at them I would remember….
|These boots have been with me on wondrous adventures...|
I would remember wearing these boots when I photographed Prime Ministers.. Howard, Rudd and Gillard. John Howard was always charming and happy to be posed and photographed every time. PM Rudd.. well he was too obsessed with his thoughts on Programatical Specificites to want to cooperate at the time. Once he actually didn't turn up. The next time he was.. well I understand why those who had never met him loved him and those who had .. well they had other thoughts about him. Julia Gillard was charming and cooperative away from the media; surprised me! Also Gough Whitlam too. Whatever your politics he was an impressive man to meet. I even had my photo taken with him while I was there too!
|Me and my mate Gough!|
And then the are the places they have walked with me… the length of 5th Avenue in New York, the top of the Empire State Building in New York. Old Parliament House in Canberra saw me in these boots standing on the top steps saying.. "Well may we say God save the Queen.. etc" while Deb and Cheryl scurried for cover. "We don't know that man!"
The sadness of Dachau Concentration Camp in Bavaria is profound and real. Again I wandered the area and tried hard to imagine the inhumanity dished out to fellow man that had happened not that long ago. Then the coffee shops in Marienplatz in the heart of Munich. Yep.. the RMs were on my feet then too!
Walking around the Italian Riviera on a hot summers night seeking out a pizzeria for dinner.. yep.. the boots came too! These boots also pressed hard on the accelerator of an AUDI A8 turbo diesel as we hit the speed limiter at 250 km/h on the Autostrada west of Munich.
Many trips to more main road destinations on my motorcycles were made wearing these boots.
And sadly they bore witness to me carrying Dorothy into the vet for that very last time last year. Their fine leather stained by our combined tears as Deb and I hugged each other and cried rivers of tears after Dorothy drew her last breath.
So now these boots themselves are near the end of their days… they have been part of my life for nearly a quarter of it… been with me though some rainy days and also with me as Deb and I shared the sunshine that is the mostly the way our life is.
NO! I can't do it! The wedding photographer flies to Melbourne tonight on one of Virgin's Kerosene Canaries and will have his "good" RM Williams on. But the old pair will await my return, just like Chloe our new faithful dog.
And I'll continue to wear them until my toes stick out through the now so thin leather sides of these proud boots.
Perhaps I should give them one final clean and place them in the wardrobe next to that black suit.. then I can take them with me to the next life. Reminds me.. pack a toothbrush too.. well you never know!
How very Egyptian of me.
(I have also used these boots to send countless Asian house geckos to the next world too! Little bastards crapping all over my home!)
So if you don't own a pair of RM Williams boots.. well do yourself a favour and go buy a pair. If you don't (and especially if you wear some cheap Chinese copies).. well you're being a fool to yourself and a burden to others!