They are in a bit of a state, are they not? I remember the day I bought them. Miss Martha was with me and helped me choose them. She wanted me to buy something fancier, light-coloured. I explained,
No Martha, the shoes have to be black because I've nothing suitable to wear to a funeral. These are to be my Funeral Shoes.
They were never off my feet for the best part of two years because they were so damn comfortable. But a time came when even the most diligent polishing did not help. They became house shoes. And by 'house' I mean outside the house, the yard.
Why don't I just throw them out? I asked myself this the other day and very nearly did. Then I didn't. Why?
I got to thinking about Pearlie who spent the best part of her life in old worn-out garments, sliping around in a pair of old deck shoes she inherited from Bert. Pearlie who had lots of nice outfits hanging in her wardrobe that she'd never, ever wear. I'm not as bad as that.
Then there was my paternal grandmother who disdained fine clothes. She'd wear the same outer clothes for months. I don't like to think of her inner garments. When she worked she wore an apron fashioned from a hessian sack. Her Sunday best was a man's grey gaberdine overcoat. I'm not as bad as that.
But I'm bad. When I'm home I wear Gap jeans and fleeces and old shoes. I wash my hair, towel it dry and don't even look in the mirror. I rarely look in mirrors these days. When I was younger I liked the person I saw there, these days I hardly know her. But I do look down from time to time and see the old shoes. Should I throw them out? Maybe tomorrow.
Three and a half years ago I wore those shoes to Sheena's funeral. She was a lady who was always well turned out. In her younger days dressed exclusively in black and white and often made and adapted her own outfits. I miss her still.