A few miles out of North Platte, the Sand Hills rise from the plains like a great stormy, green sea. The waves are steep, the troughs deep, and the wind often blows fiercely. You drive on the straight, hilly road for miles, without seeing a car or a cow, only endless barbwire fences and occasional windmills. Andy spots a cowboy boot stuck upside down on a fence post alongside the road; then a little farther on another, and another. Ann wants to know why the boots are there. All I know, in my years of driving the Sand Hills, where I lived several years as a boy after WWII, is that you are most likely to see the boots on the posts in the loneliest stretches of the prairie.
From the backseat, Andy offers his explanation: When a cowboy’s father dies, he puts one of his favorite boots on a post to say goodbye.
“You can’t know that,” Ann replies caustically.
Julya and I trade glances.
Can you spot the cows in the photo?