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For want of a shoe...  
By Maggie Turner  

Page by Page
A Woman's Journal
Yellow Tulips


Tuesday, May 2, 2000

For want of a shoe...


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"If your feet are okay, then you're all okay."

My grandfather was a firm believer in the value of warm, dry, and comfortable feet. For many years, he was a logger who worked out of doors year round. His opinions about comfort were based on hard won experience. He had nothing but contempt for "high heels", "slip-ons", and all types of whimsical footwear. He seems to have had a lasting effect on this grandchild.

My walking shoes (Vasques) developed a hole in the sole without my noticing. I was aware that I seemed sensitive to the small stones and twigs underfoot. However, I was quite surprised that I had worn a quarter-sized hole through the sole of the right shoe. The time for action had come.

I had to decide whether to repair the old or purchase a new pair of walking shoes.

My first call was to the village cobbler. He suggested bringing in the Vasques so that he could estimate the cost of repair based on their condition.

"You will have to bring them in, sir," he said.

Thus far, the interaction did not sound hopeful. Not to be easily discouraged I put the shoes in my backpack, slipped into my four-year-old ten dollar sandals, jumped into the car, and drove directly to the cobbler.

Although I had just spoken to him on the telephone, he was not there. The door was locked and the "I'll be back at" sign indicated he would return twenty minutes ago.

Things certainly were not looking any better at this point.

I reasoned that he could not have gone far. Perhaps he had slipped away to grab a cup of coffee from the café across the street. It was a theory. I made my way into the café and began to wait in line. I planned to sip my coffee slowly and watch the cobbler's shop for his return.

It did not take long. In fact, I was still second in line when I spotted him strolling quickly from the back of the building towards his door. "No time like the present," I thought, and left the coffee line to hurry over to the shop.

He was very helpful. He measured my feet and brought out various pairs of expensive walking shoes for me to try. He was shaking his head before long though. You see my feet are "non-conventional". My arches are too close to my heel and a few of my lesser toes are longer than my big toe. Nothing seemed to fit.

Happily, he felt he could replace the soles on the Vasques for around $70.00. I have worn these shoes for the past five years; they have traveled many hundreds of miles. The uppers are in perfect condition. New soles should provide me with another three or four years of service. And the shoes fit. Therefore, new soles it will be.

After arranging to pick the shoes up on Thursday, I crossed the street and took my place at the end of the coffee line once more.

The Vasques will not be ready until Thursday. In the meantime, the weather is rainy and cool. The only walking shoes I have in my possession at the moment are sandals; I am housebound.


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