Branding season is back, and with it, my next installment of the Tough Hands series. I’ve tried to expand my view for this year, focusing on the textures and tones of the weathered, hardy individuals who inspired the series at its start.
There are few places left in America like Whiteaker’s, and it’s one of the modern world’s great travesties.
As many readers and viewers are accustomed to from me, I’ll illustrate my point with an analogy.
A good friend and real-deal cowboy I know from around Harrison told me, “Once, I was in Whiteaker’s looking at a pair of boots.
“Mine, they had holes in ’em, and you could see my sock through one. Joe Whiteaker told me to try on a new pair for size, and they were great; I couldn’t afford them at the time, though, so I started to take them off.
“‘What are you doin’?’ Joe told me.
“‘Well, I can’t pay you for ’em, so could you hold ’em for me until I get my check?’ I said.
“‘Nope,’ Joe said. ‘You just wear those outta here and pay me when you can.'”
Trust. Compassion. Community. All things that Whiteaker’s offer in the store. And often, for a little bit of cash, you can get a nice pair of Justin boots, too.