Mouse Boots from Last Grand Adventure
Carol had walked so much she had literally walked out of her boots! Corda gave her a ride to every store in the town of Lakeview as Carol tried desperately to buy ‘hiking boots or any boots in any condition!’ The store shelves were empty. Empty of all but a few handfuls of non-essentials. All the store owners told her that the lumber mills in town had gone out of business after the spotted owl was deemed endangered and everyone was leaving town. Lakeview was fast becoming a ghost town; merchants would not and could not continue in business. No orders for new supplies would be sent.
Corda suggested trying the second-hand shops and the result was the same. There were no boots for Christmas Carol!
The next day as we traveled northward we met up with Linda, a blonde lady who had befriended us several days earlier. When Linda heard that we hadn’t been able to find any suitable boots for Carol she went on a search of her own.
It wasn’t half an hour later that she chased us down again, this time waving a pair of Lady’s lacer riding boots!
She had found them at a yard sale with a $10.00 price tag on them.
They were the right size and Carol went to try them on while I parked the team.
The new left boot was on and laced by the time I reached the girls and Carol had removed her old boot from her right foot and was just checking the inside of the new boot before slipping it on. She stuck her hand in and then withdrew it in a hurry saying, “There are worms in here!”
Linda grabbed the boot and shook it out. A small gray mouse fell to the pavement at Carol’s feet and began to circle her in an agony of fright. Carol was also scared silly. She began shrieking and hopping saying Kill it, Kill it Kill It frantically about on one foot trying to evade the mouse without putting her sock down on the hot pavement.
The burros heard the shrieking of my adorable wife and thought there must be a mountain lion nearby. They started out without us and I had to run and catch our escaping team.
When I returned to the girls the excitement had abated somewhat. Carol was still shaking. We cleaned out a bit of bread and cheese still in the tip of the boot and paid Linda for them.
Carol still has those riding boots. She calls them ‘mouse-boots’ and several people have asked where they can get a pair like them. She wears them when she rides her burros and she tells me that she still shakes to this day whenever she remembers that she was feeling the mouse’s small sticky pink feet and it’s long naked tail with her hand. It was bad enough to think that they were worms!
Highway 395, one of the loneliest two lane interstate highways in the country, was our route northeast from Lakeview to Wagontire, Oregon. It was such a nice road; there wasn’t much traffic and the Albert Rim towered above us to the east. (The Albert Rim is the longest exposed earthquake fault in the world.)
We sure enjoyed the quiet and the view. We could travel in the shade of the rim until noon every day and several times we saw deer that were curious enough about our team to stand still awhile and gaze upon us while we gleefully returned the compliment!
About half-way down the rim we were attacked by tumbleweeds! Thousands of the rotund weeds were caught by the wind and came hurling down upon us from the top of the rim. The huge spiny tumbleweeds continued to rush down upon us, bounding over the backs and rolling through the legs of our trusty burros for over an hour of our journey! The crowd of tumbleweeds looked like a herd of buffalo crossing the highway and making their way down the slope to the west. Thankfully we had sensible animals. Rags was the only one to get excited!