Last week I did something totally out of character. I threw away a pair of shoes. Not just any pair of shoes but probably THE most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. Adidas hiking shoes… low cut, durable, and as I said VERY comfortable! They were uglier than a baboon’s butt. Nothing stylish or cool about them. They weren’t my every day kicks… I wore them as work shoes and they served me well. I walked hundreds of miles behind a lawn mower or carrying a weed wacker while wearing those shoes. I roofed houses in them. I laid tile in them. I built fences and stone walls and decks and installed sod and tilled dirt and pruned trees along with a myriad of other tasks as those shoes cradled my feet every step of the way. They actually changed colors in the ten or so years I wore them! Bless their heart…
Now, I would like to clarify that I DO NOT have a shoe fetish and I’m not, by any means, a hoarder. I do have several pairs of shoes and boots including a pair of blue suede wing tips and a pair of Puma bowling shoes I use to wear to church (that’s another blog post in and of itself)! My dad gave me a pair of Hush Puppies for my seventeenth birthday that I kept for over forty years! When I was eight or nine, I had a pair of PF Flyers that I only took off to take a bath or sleep. My grandmother threatened to come get them and burn them while I was sleeping so I hid them behind the radiator every night when I went to bed. In those days, getting a new pair of PF Flyers was equivalent to winning the lottery today! Any nine year old boy growing up in the early sixties would swear to you that he could run faster and jump higher wearing those new sneakers than he ever could before AND cross his heart and hope to die! Just getting a new pair of shoe strings was almost as effective!
When I was in my thirties and roofing houses full time, I wore a hole in the side of my Red Wing work boot that I could put my finger through and scratch my little toe! I put a patch for a bicycle inner tube on it and kept on wearing them (you gotta love Monkey Grip)! About that time, my grandmother made my daughters a scarecrow for Halloween that was complete with the exception of proper foot wear. I went out and bought myself a new pair of Red Wings and put the old pair on the scarecrow. A few years later I had worn that new pair of boots to a frazzle. I got up in the attic one day and looked at that scarecrow and I’ll be danged if his boots weren’t in better shape than mine, so I swapped with him! He didn’t mind… he only wore them once a year anyway.
The old faithful Adidas had lived their life. The uppers were now an undescribably ugly color. The insoles were were worn clean through, but their soles/souls were still in great shape. The stitching holding the soles kept coming loose. I had glued the uppers and lowers back together a few times until last week when I decided that their purpose in my life had come and gone so I chunked them. Now that I think about it, I should’ve taken them down to the lake and given them a viking burial at sea! Send them out in a shoe box set aflame and watch ’em burn with the evening sun!
I’m guessing this sounds like I formed an unhealthy attachment to an inanimate object… in this particular case it could be called the shoe flu! I tend to look at it as appreciation and lets face it… if your feet hurt, then the rest of you hurts and any pair of shoes that keeps that from happening should be appreciated! I’m sure the scarecrow appreciated having a pair of boots, no matter their condition. And if I were nine again, I would STILL hide those PF Flyers behind the radiator every night, less they get a viking burial!