Act I – Old Friends
I have a pair of loafers. They are beyond repair, but I am too loyal to throw out. I bought them at the Bass Shoe Outlet in Ellsworth, Maine sometime around the mid-1970s. They came from the clearance rack and they cost me a cool $2.00.
When I wasn’t wearing my Bean boots, I was wearing those loafers. In high school, they ripped a few times, and each time I took them to Ex-Marine Johnny, the cobbler, and he would stitch them up with a determined, “Let’s see if that holds for a few more months.”
One day in college, they ripped behind the stitches and I was forced to improvise a repair with duct tape.
Now, I only wear the loafers when I am painting. They make painting a truly Zen experience, one demanding a deep and mindful calm, for only in such a grounded state is it possible to apply the paint evenly while not slipping out of the loafers and off the ladder.
Act II – Or, Where Loafers and Father are Manipulated
Mama picked me up from college to take me home for a long weekend. My father gave me a kiss when I walked in the door. As he moved aside to make room for me in the back hall, he saw my loafers, all wrapped in silver duct tape.
“Alice!” He raised his voice slightly at my mother, “Can’t you buy this girl some new shoes?!”
I knew that the loafers had triggered this response in my father, and I decided to see just how much I could turn this to my advantage.
I had seen a pair of pale yellow glove leather flats made in Italy at the fancy shoe boutique and although I am not a shoe person, I wanted those flats. I plotted.
Before going out that night, I changed clothes. I paired the duct tape loafers with some ripped and patched jeans and my ragged “7th AB” sweatshirt, then jogged down the back stairs and into the kitchen.
“See ya’ Pops, I am going to meet up with Anne…”
“Okay,” he started, then he looked at me, “You are NOT going out of the house dressed like THAT….”
“Yeah, I am. We are just going to Park Ave….”
“ALICE! Can’t you buy this girl some clothes?!”
Mama appeared in the doorway. “Oh, I can buy her new clothes, but can I make her wear them….?”
Mama half-raised an eye-brow, “We’ll go out when you get back.”
I raised my fingers in a “peace” sign, gave them each a kiss, and exited.