People have different ways of holding onto memories.

They may make scrapbooks of pictures and important items, or perhaps simply remember the moment the way it happened.

The memories and stories of the most recent 13 years of my life are told through a pair of Justin cowboy boots.

Anyone who knows my husband Shenon knows he always wore his boots. It's just what he always has been more comfortable wearing until the last few years when he retired his boots for a good pair of New Balance and Clarks.

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love shoes. I have always said the higher the heel the better.

Shenon and I had not been dating long before our first Christmas, when he decided to take me to select a pair of boots as my gift. With each pair I tried on, my frown seemed to get heavier because I did not like any of them.

How can I be in a specialty store with many exquisite boots and not find a single pair I like?

In a last attempt to see a smile, the clerk helping us went to the back corner and pulled a box from under a table.

As I slid my feet into the boots, I knew they were the ones-until I looked at the price tag. They were one-of-a-kind boots - there was no other pair made like them, and the price tag reflected the difference.

But those shoes came home with us that day, were wrapped under our Christmas tree and have walked through many memories in my life.

When Shenon and I decided to get married, we decided we would wear our boots in the wedding. So under the gorgeous gown I was wearing was the pair of Justin's he had bought me the year before. I remember my dad walking me down the aisle and stopping before giving me to Shenon. He said," Shenon could have cleaned his boots."

From that day on, we have always worn our boots for most special occasions in our life together.

I wore my boots for the birth of both of our children, Gabriel and Cheyenne Grace. Cheyenne Grace came home from the hospital in her own beige and pink Justin Boots. When we bought our first house, and then sold the house and finally bought the last one, we walked hand-in-hand through the lawyer's office doors with our boots on.

My boots have walked on the white sand beaches of Paradise Island, Bahamas, on ethe top of some of my favorite mountains and walked through many hospital doors as I prayed for protection over Gabriel.

As my boots get older, I don't wear them as often - only for the special occasions - because eventually there will come a time when the soles will be worn out and I will have to retire them.

But until then, if you see me with my boots on, then know it is a special day for some reason.

Leslie Beachboard is a Managing Editor for the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly and The Enterprise who has many memories from the miles walked in her boots. She can be reached via email at

Thadd White is Group Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise & Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be reached via email at