I recall a time many years ago, when I must have been about 10 years old, and sorely lacking in the shoe department. My step-dad was a painter, and in Alaska, the winter season created more rest days for him than work days, and as a result, the cash flow was sometimes minimal; and sometimes ceased. Possibly it was during one of those times of reduced family income, that I was gifted with a pair of used shoes. A pair of men’s shoes, that were even at first glance, not what you’d find on the hooves of a ten year old. The worst of it was that they fit. So, here I was, with a ten year old pair of feet, clad in a matched set of shoes more “fitting” of a seasoned citizen.
I made the best of it, and endured the stares and stones of my peers. It wasn’t a happy time.
Maybe twenty-five years ago, I bought a pair of navy blue shoes — they were almost black. Almost. It was the almost factor that created the problem; “Mike, are my eyes fooling me, or are those shoes, BLUE?” But, because the shoes were made of kangaroo leather, (very soft and comfortable) and I bought them for a great price, I loved them. Yet, I reluctantly moved them to the back of the closet, and instead wore black.
But just recently, another shoe issue popped up. Again, it was fashion. It seems good friend, Jim Lutz and I were to attend an affair where formalwear was required, and Jim queried me as to my choice in shoes for the soiree. I explained that I had a nifty pair of black shoes; dress shoes, that just needed a good polishing.
“I don’t know, Mike, I’ve got some patent leather jobs that I plan to wear.” The issue, it seems, was finish. I’m thinking that a patent leather shod Mike Foley, isn’t the image I usually portray.
We made a stop on the way, at a formal wear shop, hoping I might find suitably shiny shoes, but, the only pair on the premises that might fit, would have required a major pruning of my pedal digits, so, it was the semi-shiny, not too comfortable dress shoes for me.
As we neared the event, still, the thought that I may be under-shod, was in my mind. “What if,” I thought, “what if everyone but me, is wearing patent leather?” Well, as it turned out, when we arrived, I found that I was in the majority; most of the attendees were dressed in anything but patent leather pumps. There were black sneakers, black work shoes, and ordinary black shoes.
I looked at Jim‘s sparkly shoes, and thought to myself: ”You know, if I’d worn that wonderful old pair of blue shoes, I‘d still be in style; and comfortable.”