The Suitcase Lady


April 26, 2011, 8:48 pm

I have figured out the ultimate solution to my footwear needs. Only two items are needed, sandals and cowboy boots.

Despite my parents’ best efforts, I spent most of my childhood and teen years with bandages on my bleeding feet. Tender skin is standard equipment for redheads.

Shortly after I married, my husband valiantly tried to end my foot agony. He took me to an upscale shoe store and plunked down two weeks of grocery money for the “perfect fitting” shoes. One hour later, I was limping to the bandage box.

It took many years, but now my feet are always happy. From May to Halloween, I only wear sandals. All of them come from thrift stores so someone else has broken them in. A little scrub, and they’re good for many comfortable miles.

Winter in Wisconsin requires me to enclose my feet. A gorgeous solution presented itself one lucky day at Goodwill. Someone had deacquisitioned a pair of  red leather Dingos, genuine cowboy boots. “They’ll tear your feet to ribbons,” my brain warned me.

I slipped one on. The arch support was high as a skyscraper and my toes weren’t anywhere near the pointy front. The leather felt like velvet.

I wore those boots every day (November to May) for the next eight years. Finally, I wore a hole right through the leather uppers. After their demise, a parent at my school questioned if I could really be Mrs. Tooley without my red boots.

My current  cowboy boots, a tooled black pair, and I will part ways for a while in a few weeks. But spring has been slow to arrive this year, and I set off to school this morning shod in cowboy boots. When they go in the closet, that’s when spring begins for me.

6 Comments for this entry

  • Naomi

    Most of my footwear falls in the sandals or boots category, too. And though I love all my shoes, I wonder why I can’t find shoes for say, now, when it’s not winter but not summer yet!

  • julilly k

    Mary– to me, boots in Fall and sandals in Summer is also my foot ware, thanks to flat feet with 2 broken big toes: one from an early soccer run-in , the other from an ornery horse. So your solution is my solution, and here’s to the kind of world we live in that let’s us. Our Mothers’ world never would have stood for it– if you’ll pardon the pun.

  • liz levins

    have already worn sandals a few times this “spring”. the only comfortable shoe for me! my long pointy toes make holes in my socks, sometimes after just one day of intensive walking (happened in prague). so, wearing sandals is comfortable and economical.

  • eve robillard

    Mary–You are indeed a plucky lass. Cheers! eve
    ps: i almost made it to your program last week,
    but something came up. i forget what. the one
    at hawthorne, i mean.

  • eve robillard

    mary-btw, i never noticed you wore the same shoes.
    i just know you always look cool. eve

  • Thelma Friedman

    like the comments also. I too suffer from feet issues. this week is Lands End i have been wearing when outside, buy them when they are on sale!