Lucchese boots: starting price, mid $300s. Not your garden variety boots. No, these are special. (If you are just now learning of them, please do not hold any future purchases against me.) These are the boots that you hem and haw over and finally plop down your credit card, hand a bit wobbly. It is the kind of purchase that you enter into knowing that you are either going to wear them into the ground (money well spent) or buy them and wind up never finding just the right outfit, or socks or occasion to wear them, thus relegating them to the back of your closet to collect dust and guilt.
Fortunately for my old (nah, too easy) friend Ellen, this particular pair of boots fell comfortably into the former category until, that is, they didn’t. She bought and loved them. Cherished, even. And then it happened. Her aging arches fell, her feet flattened and the Luccheses were suddenly obsolete, leaving Ellen crushed, defeated and a little bitter. She tried to power through the pain of wearing them “just once more” before giving into the pressure and retiring them to a spot in her closet which was close enough that she could visit with them, but far enough so that they could not mock her. In her mind she knew that there was someone out there who would, one day, be deserving of assuming ownership. As the mother of one high school aged son and the wife of one middle aged husband, her options were limited. What to do?
I know Ellen from my pre-parenting days. (You know, back when we didn’t know it, but life was about as easy as it was going to get) We were on the same gym schedule for years and became fast friends. (After a while we even figured out that she and my oldest brother, David, had gone to camp together…that is known as Jewish geography. I am a big fan.) We share a similar view of the world and have always been each other’s best audience with the ability to crack one another up with ease.
It has been a long time since I have seen her in person, but we’ve been in touch thanks to the miracle of Facebook. Harrison (whose first word happened to be “shoe”) was just a little kid when we bumped into one another at one of those horrible spots that are supposed to be a blast for the kids but, (and this part they leave out of the literature) hell on earth for the parents. Her son is a full two years younger than Harrison but she already knew that these excursions were not meant for the likes of her. (Or, for that matter, me.) We spotted one another across the room and picked up just where we had left off. She is that kind of friend.
Periodically one of us will see that the other is online and start chatting. Recently she caught me just coming off the high of shopping with Jessie who has, bless her little heart, discovered the joy of shoe shopping. I had just been victorious in getting her to try on (and, like a typical ‘tween girl, begrudgingly admit to loving) a pair of boots which I really kinda wanted for myself, but could not justify: not due to price (they were $35)(and probably made of paper) but more that if I were to come home with yet another pair of boots I might also be served divorce papers. (And yes, I know, that encouraging this love of shoes is going to come back to haunt me, but allow me to indulge here and there.) I was lamenting that, while it was a fun exercise, I was a little bummed to discover that Jessie has inherited my feet and is, at the tender age of ten, already wearing a size seven. That is the moment when Ellen’s loss would become Jessie’s gain.
After having slept on it, Ellen popped back into my chat stream the next day wanting to be absolutely sure that Jessie is a size seven. I confirmed and quickly received an email with the subject line: Is Jessie cool enough for these? The entire content of the email :
Indeed she is, I replied. And then I got this:
She may be the only girl in the world I could stand to give them to.
They should only go to a girl with nuts.
It made me, Rich and everyone I shared it with laugh out loud. It also made me happy. Jessie is always going to be different from the other girls. Her feet will be bigger than most, but so are mine. Her history will not be like the other girls. And I’m willing to bet that she will be the only one among her friends who got her first pair of kick-ass boots when she was ten. Rock on, Jessie, rock on.
p.s. Here’s a link you know you want to use right about now: