The words, “let’s look for you a pair of new shoes,” strikes me with the same degree of angst as “the dentist will see you now.”
In both cases, I know what’s going to happen and I know I’m not going to like any of it.
Mom uttered those dreaded words Wednesday as we backed out of her driveway. I knew she had talked about finding a new pair of “flats” for herself. And, I knew I had mentioned needing to find a new pair of shoes for myself…work shoes…outdoor shoes…tough shoes…hardy shoes…stand up to anything shoes…shoes that met those specifications as well as fitting my right foot without causing it pain.
The last pair of shoes I purchased for “outdoor work shoes” came from Wal-mart and cost me a total of $5.00 plus tax. They were ugly as could be (red, black and white) and Daughter (who is fond of wearing odd colors and apparel) was embarrassed to be seen with me in them. They had no arch – flat as a pancake – and no padding, either.
When I saw the horrid pair of boy’s shoes, size 5 1/2, I almost passed them by. But, they had the wide toe base that my right foot requires, so I tried the shoes on. Immediately I knew they were a bargain at $5.00. An, ugly one to be certain, but a priceless one that’s lasted me 2+ years through constant outside use and abuse and over hundreds of miles of walking.
About a month ago, as I walked home after a full day of yard work and gardening at Mom’s house, I stepped on a rock and felt it through the sole of my shoe. Odd. I stopped in the middle of the street and took a look at the bottom of my shoe. The sole was worn thin in two places and a crack was forming under my toes. I quickly checked the other shoe and found the same things there.
My cheap ugly shoes had served me well…amazingly well. And, now they were wearing out, as all things do.
I’ll admit, I cried.
These shoes had been a God-send. Without them I couldn’t have gardened, cut grass, loaded the U-Haul truck last summer for the move here, walked hundreds of miles…. They gave me freedom from pain and the ability to do anything I desired…and protected that foot from additional harm.
They were exactly what I needed. Perfect. They could not have been more perfect if I’d had them made especially for my feet. Finding them was a miracle.
I continued to wear the ugly shoes and, of course, the thin places grew thinner and it wasn’t long before I noticed brown circular stains on the bottoms of my socks. Holes had developed in the soles.
Last week, as I walked on the wet street, I noticed my sock felt spongy. Upon arriving at home, I removed my ugly shoes and found the cracks had gone all the way through the soles and up the sides of the shoes. I would be unable to wear them when the grass/ground was wet.
Again, I mourned my loss. You see, it’s not just the loss of shoes that I mourn. It’s the loss of my ability to do what I love – be outside/work outside no matter the weather.
Yes, I have other shoes, but only one other that I can wear that doesn’t cause me much pain. I wear that pair for just about everything else BUT outside work. I can’t turn them into work shoes. They are old as well and were purchased at about the same time the ugly shoes were.
Forgive me, I digressed….
Mom said, “let’s look for you a new pair of shoes.” I suggested we not. I was not in the mood to cause my right foot additional problems. My intention was to wait as long as possible and wear those ugly work shoes for as long as possible. With Summer ending, surely its work load would end as well.
Mom reminded me that with Summer’s end comes Autumn’s beginning and all the chores that come with it.
Perhaps it was time to bite the proverbial bullet and actively search for new shoes. I would be at a shoe store long enough for her to try on shoes and look over the stock – might as well try on a few myself.
I headed to the children’s shoes and picked up a wide toed boy’s size 5 1/2 shoe, made similar to my ugly work shoes. I slipped off my right shoe and slipped on the new one. Immediately, I pulled it off without even placing my foot on the ground. The pain was instant, throbbing. I was surprised.
I tried shoe after shoe and found only one shoe (women’s) that caused no pain…until I placed my right foot on the floor. That shoe came off quickly and was returned to its box.
I gingerly placed my tennis shoe on my throbbing foot. Trying on shoes was a done deal as far as I was concerned. Any more and I would be unable to walk.
Mom had no luck finding a shoe there and so we headed to Kmart….”surely there,” she said.
I dutifully looked through the shoes and happened upon a shoe that I thought might work. But, I quickly found that I was unable to even place my foot into it…the pain was just too great.
The next morning I found that I was unable to wear any shoes. My right foot throbbed and complained like a bad toothache. And, today (two days later) I don’t dare go without a shoe for fear I will bang my sore toes on something….
Duct tape is my go to cure all. I think for now I will wrap my work shoes in several layers of the stuff and continue on as I have been. And, in the meantime I will keep my eyes open for another miracle – an especially ugly shoe with the perfect fit