Random Musings - Shoes

Monday, November 16, 2009
When I was 13...

I stole a pair of shoes. I stole them out of spite. Every day I would file into the back row of Social Studies, and there they sat. Perfectly good Nike’s sitting in the back of the closet, unworn and ignored.My thirteen year old supposition was that they must have belonged to someone who didn’t need them. Why would they be sitting there day after day? Perhaps the owner had forgotten about them. Maybe they didn’t even come to the school anymore, after all the Social Studies teacher was also an eighth grade home room teacher.

Maybe some kid left them there over the summer. Justifications in place, I stole them. They weren’t being used and I wanted them. I spent a year keeping them hidden at home, then sneaking them on while riding the bus to school each day.

At this point, I could excuse this behavior by pleading poverty and how I needed good shoes. It wouldn’t be true. While I did grow up poor, I didn’t need the shoes. I stole them because I was becoming acutely aware that my clothes were not cool. It was a simple case of vanity that lead up to the taking of those shoes. Over time, the theft of some forgotten shoes passed into a nagging memory. Something I did as a child, but nowhere near as bad as things I would do as a teenager. After all, they were just shoes.
When I was 28...

I was the father of three small boys and the husband of very special woman. We were poor. I was on the other side of two years of very poor decisions and unemployed. I had managed to find a job after a year of food banks, dodging creditors, day labor, furniture moving and an unfortunate accident.

My employer had a dress code. The only “dress” shoes I owned were a tan pair of cowboy boots whose soles that had seen better days. I made it to work each winter day with freshly polished cowboy boots that had newspaper in them to keep the snow and wet away. I made sure that no one saw the state of those souls, by carefully keeping my feet out of sight.

New shoes were out of the question for at least six months. A baby and two toddlers tend to set your financial priorities, as does owing the government back taxes. Cold feet were a small price to pay to give my family what I felt they deserved. Eventually I was able to replace those boots. Other then the occasional comment from my wife about how bad she felt about me having to wear those boots, they also passed into memory. They became another memory involved with the struggles of life. After all, they were just shoes.
Today, I am 40 (something)...


I don’t think about my shoes very much. I have 3 or 4 pairs of dress shoes. My life is fairly idyllic. I have managed to create a life that gives me great joy. This doesn't mean that I don’t have struggles. We all do, but there are no big deals like the big deals I had as a young man.

Every year at Christmas, my wife gives me a pair of Nike Cross Trainers. They are always same type and color. I usually keep them in the box until May, which is when I start wearing them. Typically this is when we take our vacation. For the last few years, my new shoes have been to Italy, The U.K. and on a ship to Alaska. I think of these new shoes as part of my travel preparation.

Traveling the world was one of the dreams that my wife and I would talk about. Those discussions, alone, in our bed were one of the things that made the hard times go by a little faster. Since the earliest days of our relationship, we would dream of places like Venice or Vienna or Paris.

When I was 13, I couldn’t imagine getting out of my small town let alone seeing the world. When I was 28, dreams of foreign travel kept my world alive with hope. Today, I get to see the world and share it with my truest love and my children, always with a new pair of shoes. I don’t really think about the shoes. After all, they are just shoes.

8 comments :

  1. interesting written, loiked to read :-)

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  2. Okay, so maybe because I have known you through all these pairs of shoes (that took you through your life) but this made me cry! At work, no less, so thanks for that...

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  3. Sorry, sweetie. (hug)

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  5. What a lovely piece of your life to share with us... a beautiful read... thank you

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  6. gina70r1:52 PM

    what great story! says so much about how one's perspective on life changes. Thanks

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  7. This is a grand post - I much enjoy your writing and look forward to reading more over the coming while.

    Keep sharing and I'll keep reading.

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  8. Thanks Beverly, Gina & Rantz. I have been working on this for awhile and I truly appreciate your kind words.

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