My Cute Little German Mother likes to wear her shoes. She wears them all the time. You know how you never see Sophia in Golden Girls without her purse? Well, that’s Mom with her shoes. She has this one, very old, favorite pair of shoes. She calls them her house shoes, but she often wears them outside the house, too. Apparently, they have just the right feel, just the right heel. I try to get her to wear other shoes – she has many – but she almost always wears these old shoes, which have seen much better days. So, I went shopping for her. I had the heel height in mind, comfort, color, everything. I intended to find a new pair for her, as close to the old pair as possible. As I thought about her history with shoes, I realized I had almost never seen her barefoot. She took her shoes off at the beach a few times, but that’s about it. At home, they just come off for baths and bedtime. I asked her the other day, why she doesn’t just take them off around the house. “I don’t know,” she said. “I just feel like I’m going to fall forward wisout dem.” As I shopped for a new pair, I looked at dozens. At last, I was sure I found the perfect pair. They were about the same color, same heel height, same strap width, absent the scuffs and spots. I bought them and hurried home to make the presentation. She was so pleased. She tried them on. She admired their comfort. She said the heel was perfect. She said I was so sweet to go get her new shoes. She smiled, bragged and admired. I’m pretty sure that was the last time I ever saw them. Oh well, my feelings aren’t hurt. She’s just very, very … set in her ways. She doesn’t want changes and I guess I won’t try to force any on her. I’m sure the shoes are in the box somewhere in her closet, with all the others. I think for her right now, the shoes are more than just footwear. They’re like faithful old friends who bring consistent comfort. The shoes bring smiles to others as well. My daughter’s college-age friends stop by from time to time when they have breaks from school. They enjoy catching up and comparing notes about what’s new, classes they like and those they don’t, and what hasn’t changed. “I see your grandma is still wearing her squeaky shoes,” they’ll say with a smile. A couple of weeks ago, she was squeaking her way back from the kitchen to her room. My youngest was near starvation after football practice and I was looking for something he could eat so he would survive until dinner. How about one of those Philly cheesesteak subs?” I asked. From her room the little cutie queried, “Cheesecake? Do we have cheesecake?” Some things never change. And sometimes that’s a good thing.

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