While growing up, my friends and I devoured books by Karl May. Stories about noble Indian warriors, and at times even more noble cowboys. For a time, we all wanted to be cowboys. Karl May, a prodigious German author, made it all sound so good. The coveted accessories: elaborate cowboy belts, die-cast six-shooters and cowboy boots. The boots stayed a dream, however. My parents were in the habit of buying a new pair of shoes every January 2nd, the same color and brand, just larger.