After years of searching

I left behind something in China that I’ve been missing since I left in November two years ago. Of course, there are friends and students to be missed, but I was missing a REPLACEABLE something. Well… it SHOULD have been replaceable.

Short story, long…

A year into college, I went with my mom to a Payless sale. There I found close-toed dark brown leather type sandal things (In looking for them, I’ve learned ever so very little shoe terminology and I think they were a sandal style clog if you want a more particular description.) for $5. I suppose they might have been $10, since backwards remembering always makes things better. Either way they were $10 or under.

I HATE spending money on clothes or shoes, but I needed new ones, and they were cheap and just practically perfect in every way. (Mentally insert the Mary Poppins theme song)

I wore those babies for the rest of my college career. The things NEVER wore out. I mean NEVER. I loved em. You slip em on and go to class, slip them off and fall onto your bunk for a 15 minute nap before the next one. Post-college, we slip em on to go to the Post Office, outside for a quick walk or to "look at that funny bird, mommy" or whatever, slip em off when you get in. I wore them to church and work because they were dressier than my tennis shoes (even after multiple years use). Best part is, even though they were the thick-strap sandal style to let air in, they were close-toed so I didn’t feel like I needed a pedicure to keep from bugging people. I wore them with socks in the winter, bare feet in the summer.

Let’s face it… if I were in a poetic mood, I would write "Ode to the Brown $5 Sandals" and the epic poem would comprise of no less than ten 30 line verses.

Several years and a kid later, they traveled with us to China. Right before I came home, they died. One of the soles cracked and literally let me down every time I stepped. I left them behind so Matt would have a quick on/off shoe to go out on the mini-deck thing where clothes were dried and not track in all the coal dust and other random dirt that settled pretty much everywhere. He left them there when he came back because, well, no point in bringing them home to throw them away.

Fast forward to two years later…

I’m obsessed with replacing my wonderful shoes. I’ve visited Payless no less than 3 times in hopes of finding my shoes. Each time I would have paid the full thirty-some-odd-dollar price for them. No dice. They are apparently not "in" any more. Come to think of it, they probably were ‘out’ when I bought them which is why they were cheap. Nor could I find a suitable -to me- substitute. Nothing could quite measure up. Now they have half-a-tennis-shoe type shoes for slipping on. If I wanted to look like I was wearing a tennis shoe… I’d wear a tennis shoe. Come on, designers!

Out of desperation I did purchase a slip on that fell apart one season into gardening… and they were at least $15. That’s more than my ‘miracle’ shoes. What a waste! =) As always, Matt was right, he had been against my ‘old lady’ shoes from the start.

I’ve searched the internet. Although I would spend the $30, even I won’t spend the $100+ for the ritzy version that I’ve found. Sorry, people. Do you know how many books that will buy?

I’ve kept my eyes open at Wal-mart. Nothing.

So, since I was utilizing Matt’s slip-on shoes because they are comfy and easy (and, hey, if he’s not wearing it, it’s free game, right?) I think, "It’s time to give up on my beloved shoes. Bite the bullet and bring the partial tennis-shoe home if you have to, but find something". I couldn’t do it. Everything I found was white or chintzy or too girly or too trendy or not something that can go gardening and clean up to do church duty to add to the challenge, I wasn’t going to spend over $10 for shoes that weren’t even close to comparison with my perfect shoes. Not that I’m picky or anything.

Walking through Wal-mart to get milk, I see them in the clearance rack. Not sandal-style, no.. these are far less beautiful. They ARE, however, $5. And brown. And hardy looking. Best point of all, they fit. That beautiful gong in my head tells me I’ve found my sole mate. (okay, that was bad.)

Lovingly – okay, carelessly… I had to see if they’d hold up to wear – I toss them in the cart and bring them home. It’s a rocky relationship start. I have a former love and they also have a past… 100% post-consumer recycled material. I may never know about everything that has happened to make them what they are, but that doesn’t matter to me. They are mine now, and we will travel many a road together. I just hope this relationship lasts, because it took me nigh into three years to get over my attachment to the last pair.

Wow. If you had no prior evidence of my girl-dom, I have just written an entire blog entry about a pair of shoes. That’s pretty sad, people.

PS- Matt still can’t have his shoes back full-time… they work better for bike riding. =)

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