For any of you that followed our move back to New Mexico, you know that a couple of boxes of women’s shoes didn’t seem to have made the trip. One of the many things that men do not understand about women, and particularly, women’s shoes, is why or how much they, that opposite sex, literally adore them. Shoes are not only an all important fashion accessory but a life-altering delusion. Hence the desire to have a pair of stiletto heels, pretty normal looking to us men, with a red sole, almost more than anything in the world. Louis Vuitton’s. Thousands of dollars. I’ve seen shoes selling for MILLIONS of dollars a pair! We all remember former First Lady of the Philipines, Imelda Marcos, and her rather overstated collection of shoes. So you can imagine the distress caused by the loss of years of shoe collecting in one move of 1,300 miles.
“I packed them in a box and labeled them, ‘Bo’s Shoes’. I remember it distinctly,” I said over and over as I struggled to recall the memory of the task. I remember packing the shoes. I know that every box was moved from the house, then to the storage, then to my friend’s garage, and then to the U-Haul truck. I remember checking and re-checking to make sure everything was packed. Walking the house several times before I put the key under the mat and cursed the landlord one final time for demanding a walk-through for a damage deposit that had already been forfeited. She didn’t get her walk-through.
After we unpacked all the boxes, and rifled through the rest, we still had no shoes. My wife, in her defense, although she didn’t take it well, took it in stride. I know she still secretly blamed me. We had all kinds of possible scenarios. Maybe the shoe boxes fell out of the pickup unnoticed when we were moving them from the storage to the garage. They were in a pickup bed and not the enclosed cargo trailer, of that I was pretty sure. Maybe, somehow they just got missed in one of the moves. Maybe, even, someone broke into the cargo trailer while we were sleeping, and seeing everything of value in there, only was after boxes of shoes. A woman thief, perhaps, with Ninja stealth that could pick a lock and carefully put everything back the way it was.
The final exercise was to check every box left unpacked in the garage for now. All the boxes of books waiting for the bookshelves to be built and the plastic totes of Christmas decorations and Halloween decorations that are stacked six high on the far wall of the garage. I checked every label on every box in the garage and they were clearly books and other things needing of a shelf. I knew what was in those totes, so I didn’t look. Just stacked them neatly out-of-the-way.
Months passed and the thought of the financial burden that was to ensue, to replace the necessary fashion accessories acquired over years of collecting, was starting to take its toll, emotionally, and financially. The new job started. Had to have shoes. Sixty dollars. And then there was the most devastating loss to her, the “Sketcher” boots. Winter was upon us.
While getting ready for the Holiday Arts & Crafts Festival last weekend, we needed a few holiday props from our Christmas decorations. I went to the mountain of totes and started with the first one on the top of the stack looking for a tree skirt. When the lid came off the tote, I almost cried, literally. There, packed to the top, were pairs and pairs of shoes! Now I ask you, does this look like a box? A box with a label calling out in black marker that shoes occupy the interior space?
When I was younger, when I would lose something, like my favorite baseball, or the Buffalo Nickel my grandfather had entrusted me with, or anything a kid treasures, my mother would tell me to say a prayer to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. In what seemed like a miraculous event, the item would be found, within hours or a few days. My mother would remind me always that I had said the prayer to Saint Anthony and that is how I had found it. In all honesty, you’re supposed to say a “novena” to St. Anthony which, in the Roman Catholic Church, involves nine days of prayers and services. In other words, not just a short, “Dear Saint Anthony, help me find my baseball.” I’m hardly that religious anymore, so I didn’t play the St. Anthony card when the shoes had gone missing. Looking back, maybe I should have.
I carried the first tote into the living room and set it down in front of my wife, and said, “Look in there.” She was a bit perturbed because she was watching a show on TV, one of the millions of Christmas movies that are now airing on the “Hallmark Channel” that she watches religiously every holiday season starting in early November. She thought I wanted her to dig through there to look for the tree skirt. When she pulled the lid off, her eyes lite up and she screamed, “My shoes, you found my shoes!” And then quickly, “Where’s the rest of them?” I went out to the garage and brought in the next identical tote. The “Sketcher” boots were in there.
My wife carefully dusted off each pair of shoes, lovingly procured over those many years, and put them neatly in her closet. Mystery solved. All is well with the world.