When I was horseback riding, back in the 1970s, my mom bought me L.L. Bean boots for Christmas. It was some Christmas because I also got an L.L.Bean down vest. I wore both items from the following December 26 until, well, until recently, when, on a recent rainy day, I pulled the Bean boots on, went out, and slipped on the pavement. The tread on the soles had worn smooth.
I took them to the L.L. Bean store to be shipped back to Maine and re-soled. The young man at the counter gave my boots one look and called over a supervisor.
“These are Bean boots, for sure, but I don’t think we make this height boot anymore…I can’t even find the matching description….”
“They’re from the 1970s….” I offered.
The supervisor looked up. “They will do their best, but not every pair of boots can be re-soled.”
With that near-doctorly advice, I left my boots.
About three weeks later, I found a smallish green L.L. Bean bag stuck in my door. I ripped it open, half-expecting to find a note saying, “Sorry you tight-wad, you’re gonna have to buy a different pair of boots.” Instead, I found plastic bag and a note, “We are afraid you left a personal item in your boots.”
Inside the bag were my vintage sheepskin innersoles, the ones I think my mom gave me when I was in college.
If the innersoles had been found, removed, and sent back to me, I knew the boots would soon follow. They did, and they are beautiful. They should last another thirty-seven years.