Friday, July 9, 2010

These Shoes (I Dare You Challenge)

This week Jo Prescott’s I Dare You challenge at her site JM Prescott - A Reader's World came in the form of clothing..."Clothing can set the scene as certainly as a wedding dress, predict plot like a ski mask and laytex gloves, or reveal character like chaps and spurs."
Herewith, my response to the challenge:

These Shoes

These shoes have walked all over London. They have traversed Bermuda and the Bahamas. They have climbed to the caldera in the Azores and stood atop Gibraltar. They have walked all through the worst parts of Lisbon until they made my feet ache, and some of the best parts of Hamburg, where again my feet were hurting at day’s end. In Barcelona, they walked a good part of las Ramblas. They have stood on the tarmac at the little airport a short distance from the edge of the Pyrenees and taken me through olive groves and parks where flamingoes danced and balanced on one leg. They, these shoes, not the flamingoes, helped me walk all around Las Vegas to take in everything there was to see and do for free, and because my feet were sore, I credit them with keeping me from losing more than $40.US in those oh-so prevalent slots. I did pick up another pair in Denver, but they’re really the same shoes, and at the end of the month they will take me back to Costa Rica.

These shoes have walked the decks of many ships and the aisles of dozens of airplanes. They have gotten me to airports early and to church late. They have guided me through shopping malls and into cinemas and across the streets of New York City against the light. They have walked me from the Battery to Harlem, from Sutton Place to the Chelsea Piers, from somewhere to no place. These shoes have walked me from childhood to my maturity.

These shoes are my guide. They are brogues. They are sandals, boots and loafers. I have walked a mile in another man’s moccasins and returned home in these shoes. They wait under my bed to greet me in the morning and take me to new places and the same old places. They can get there without a map. They have marked the mileage and taken into account my weariness. These shoes will never fail me. They are ruby slippers and if I click the heels together three times and wish solemnly for something, well, you know where that will get me. I have not yet been to Kansas, but I understand we all wind up there one day.

I have never drunk champagne from a woman’s shoe nor has any drunk from mine but the possibility is not ruled out.

Every so often, I remove these shoes and flex my toes on a sandy beach or swim in a pool or bathe, but for more hours of the day than I have them off, I have them on. The natural condition of my feet, it would seem, is to be inside these shoes. Sometimes I wonder why we have made the earth so hard and dangerous a place to walk barefoot that these shoes are more a necessity than a whim.

I am attached to these shoes, and have contributed to the fortunes amassed by men like Thom McAn and Mr. Florsheim, if there was such a person, and if there was, he must have been very attached to his shoes. Why else dedicate his life to providing them for so many others. He had not much work convincing people they needed their shoes. Everybody takes this for granted here in the first and second worlds. We are working on those in the third world, getting them to see the necessity of shoes.

Someday, everybody in the world will admit how much they are attached to shoes. Then, we will work on hats.

© Michael D. Brown 2010


  1. A fine journey to take, one step at a time. Nice hike mdb, very nice!

  2. Jo certainly had a challenge on her hands. Nicely done, Michael.

  3. LOL, at least your response to this challenge was good, mine was probably not so much!!! I guess I should post mine!

  4. So very true, Michael on many accounts. And Thom McAnn ... That's a blast from the past for me. I remember going there to buy shoes when I was a kid.

  5. A lovely travelogue - or should I say 'travelbrogue'? - and view of your wanderings which must inspire you to write to our benefit.
    But I have to take exception to your "getting them to see the necessity of shoes" - why? when the ground they walk on doesn't require shoes, and pockets will not stretch to their, often over-priced, and once begun, multiple acquisition.

  6. What a fine take on the dare, Michael. Absolutely loved this. I don't know where half of these places are, but I could sure as hell feel the aching-ness (is that a word?) of the feet.
    Great piece!


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