Storytime: My Timberlands

So check this out…

Back in 2004, I was deployed to Bamberg Germany with my Illinois Army National Guard unit. While the deployment was supposed to be 12 months, it ended up being 16 months, which in all reality wasn’t an issue. I mean, it was Germany. Beautiful women and drinking, all day every day.

And it was undoubtedly better than what the initial location was supposed to be: Iraq.

But while there, naturally the holiday season comes and goes. It was weird spending the holidays in a foreign country, away from everyone I knew, and everything I was familiar with, other than my fellow soldiers.

I remember quite a few soldiers being massively bummed out, especially on Thanksgiving. I think that was an especially tough one. I actually got off base, and spent the day with fellow Americans I’d made friends with. I remember the sight of white bread stuffing throwing me into a deep depression, and drinking myself into a pre-stupor…yet I digress.

For Christmas, my family sent me several gifts. One of them being two pairs of Timberland boots.

Back in 2004, Timberlands were particularly a hot item, and my mother sent me 2 pair…one black, and one of the traditional tan pairs.

At the time, this was a further testament to how I often felt my family didn’t know me at all. I pictured my sister assuring my mother that everyone wanted Timberlands, and my mom assuming if everyone else wants them, I guess Dion will.

I’ve never been very fashionable, and anything that was big fashion for a majority of people was definitely something I stayed away from.

And so, I received the boots, looked at them, and remember thinking “WTF am I supposed to do with these?”

So, my natural thought was to give them away.  Initially as I thought back on this story, I distinctly remember giving a pair of boots away.  I can’t imagine it was hard to find someone to take them, being in an all male unit.

However, I also remember someone telling me to ‘hold on to those, unless you change your mind later.”

I’m guessing I took that advice, because as I type this on the Metra train heading to work, I am wearing a pair of black Timberland boots.  The same pair my mother mailed to me in 2004 in Bamberg Germany.  That I then mailed back to the United States in a footlocker along with a bunch of other random stuff, and later stuck into a storage space.

When I moved a year ago, while going through the stuff I had in storage, I don’t think the boots registered to me at all.  I didn’t throw them away, but I suppose I just passed over them.

If you’re in Chicago right now though, you’ll know that winter has arrived early, and we are supposed to achieve record cold today.  It is supposed to be colder in Chicago today than in Siberia. And, on my to-do list for winter was to buy a new pair of boots.  For the last few years I’ve worn a pair of work boots that I bought while working at Discount Tire.  Reliable, and reasonably warm, but not water proof, and in the slushy winters of Chicago, eventually water would soak through and…well, not only is it a gross feeling, but it can actually be hazardous depending on the wind chill.

And upon the first snow of the year, on Halloween, my mind flashed back to those boots I’d seen while going through stuff while moving, and I went into the footlockers, and there they were.

“Holy shit!  Those are those Timberlands from Germany.”

I’d never worn them.  But, my shoe size hasn’t changed since then and they fit like a charm.  They’re heavy, and thus far, very warm…and they’ve kept my feet dry.

In the end, I suppose mom was right.  15 years later, I’m wearing the damn boots.

How has your fashion sense evolved over the years? Were there items, or colors, you never would have worn before, but wear now?  What was your most embarrassing fashion choices back in the day? Let me know down in the comments. 

Also, have you checked out my podcast? The show is Off The Beaten Podcast. You can find this week’s show on Apple Podcast, on StitcherSpotify, or on our website. Also, follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to see the sights of the city and what’s going down.

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