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Tuesday, 04 February 2014


By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

As a child, I was the proud owner of two or three pairs of shoes at a time. The everyday shoes were worn until they literally fell apart.

Rainy days were dreaded because the water would soak through the cardboard that covered the holes. The “good” pair was worn only when we visited relatives or friends.

You might think, then, that in an effort to make up for the past, I would now be the proud owner of dozens of shoes. Actually, however, I currently own only six pairs, including my old workshoes.

For me, comfort always trumps fashion. Once I find a pair of comfortable shoes they become my long-time buddies.

My current favorites, a pair of tennis shoes, are among the most comfortable ones that I have ever owned. Therefore, I tend to wear them whenever I go. This has gotten me into some occasional trouble with my better half.

Bev gets especially disturbed when I wear the old reliables to church. I’ve learned to get into the car first, leave it last and walk behind her. That way she has less of a chance of discovering my transgression.

However, when she does notice, I get a remark such as: “You can’t wear those old shoes to church!”

“Why not?” I protest. “God doesn’t care. He’s just glad that I’m in attendance!”

Her rejoinder is: “Maybe He doesn’t care, but I do!”

My two pairs of dress shoes look nice, no doubt in part because I seldom wear them (when forced to wear a suit I will wear the better looking ones). However, after about three hours they simply kill my feet.

The way I look at it, if I need to wear fancy shoes for someone to like me, then that would be a shallow relationship indeed.

One negative side-effect with my tennis shoes is that they squeak loudly whenever the soles are wet. It is rather embarrassing to walk down a crowded aisle at the mall while making such an offending racket but it’s a price I’ll willingly pay for comfort.

A few months ago I made the mistake of buying shoes simply because they were attractive. They are white with red tips and I must admit, they are easy on the eyes. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that they were not so easy on the feet. As a result they’re collecting dust in the bedroom closet.

Whenever my favorite shoes become so ragged that Bev refuses to be seen in public with me, I send them into semi-retirement. Instead of the closet, they take up residence in the basement.

Whenever I wash the car, cut the grass or paint the house these old friends are once more called upon to provide comfort to some old, aching feet.

Interestingly, my shoes are not all the same size. My feet are rather small (you know what they say: small feet, large brain!), so often a size 8-½ fits perfectly. Other times, however, I need a 9 or even a 9-½! I guess they just don’t make sizes the way they used to.

My wife has a completely different philosophy when it comes to shoes. She’s certainly no Imelda Marcos, who once was quoted as follows: “I did not have 3,000 pairs of shoes; I had 1,060.”

But Bev is the proud owner of what I would estimate to be around thirty pairs of shoes, which is more than the total that I owned during my first 20 years of life.

With all the different types and colors of shoes on display at the various stores, Bev decries the fact that she has only two feet on which to wear them. She equates buying shoes (and purses, dresses, etc.) with happiness. That’s fine and dandy, but I’ll take comfort over fashion and color coordination any old time.

For the life of me I don’t understand how the ladies can tolerate high heels. The other day I watched an old movie in which a woman was tap dancing in those monstrosities. I give her all the credit in the world; I probably couldn’t even walk in them.

Eventually, if we’re so lucky, we get to the point where no shoes, no special dress or pants or even makeup will make us as physically attractive as we were in our younger years. When do you reach that point?

The late, great comedienne Phyllis Diller has the answer: “You know you’re old when someone compliments you on (your) alligator shoes and you’re barefoot.”

The best advice: if the shoe fits (comfortably), wear it.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I enjoyed your essay on "Shoes I have Known and Loved", Mickey. Nice writing!

About my shoes; I wear a size 6 but a 7 feels so good I buy an 8.

Good story, Mickey. I favor the cheap flexible models with velcro straps. Much easier to put on when there's no need to bend over and fuss with laces.

Funny how you got all of those wonderful ideas out of a comfortable pair of shoes!

A good story, Mickey, and oh-so-true.

You've probably come across what Ginger Rogers famously said about dancing with Fred Astaire. Which was "I did everything he did but backwards and wearing high heels."

Oh boy, did I laugh? You bet!

Alligator feet and Nancy's comment. I have Mickey's philosophy about shoes and own three pair, oops, four. A pair of black runners, a pair of winter boots, a pair of black "Dawgs" and a pair of Crocs for the garden.

I just sent two pair of Italian leather pumps to the Goodwill. I hadn't put them on in years and when I tried them the dern things had shrunk! It's the dry air here. It's made *all* my clothes shrink!

Nancy, I have always had an awful time buying shoes. For years I had to buy kid's shoes. I wear a four, but with my orthopedics a five felt better so now I'm shopping for five and a half, which is a devilishly hard size to find.

Great story idea, interesting, and funny! I think getting older brings the importance of comfortable shoes. And as my doctor recommended, "Wear the arch supports!"

I also have small feet -- 81/2 D. As as child I had two pairs of shoes; one for school that had to last the whole year and one for dress. Hate to say it, but now I have many more than that...running, golf, hiking, snow, dress, and casual. Somehow my frugality did not wear off on my daughter, who has enough shoes that her friends nicknamed her "Imeda."

Ooops....it was supposed to be "Imelda" after the famous Imelda Marcos and her endless collection of shoes.

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