Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Clogging Along

I finally got my big feet into the Birkenstocks I bought six, seven years ago.

They're feeling great. It's taken only a week to convince my toes to endure the stiff, unyielding leather long enough to arrive at a stage of flexibility.

Always had a problem finding shoes wide enough. There was a time when I eagerly awaited the arrival of the Montgomery Ward catalog, because they had a selection of wide shoes. Not many, but better than none at all.

When I went into the Birkenstock store, I didn't expect there would be so much difficulty finding clogs wide enough. The clerk was not very encouraging -- had he never seen wide feet before? At the time I wasn't really committed to Birkenstocks, just wanted comfortable, bum-around clogs. Liked the ease of clogs, no shoe laces, no back straps, just slide your feet into them.

The first time I saw someone wearing a pair of clogs I thought them both ridiculous and unsafe, couldn't understand how something so . . . unsubstantial . . . would stay on the foot. I was converted to clogs while on a trip to Spain with my aunt. I bought my first pair just to please her.

We sat down in the women's section. I pointed to a pair of clogs with wooden soles, red leather topside. "I'm not sure we have those in your size," said the woman clerk. My Spanish wasn't very good, but I knew -- had known in advance -- what she was saying. She popped up suddenly, took a circuitous route through the store. I could see her head bobbing along in the men's section. Soon she was back with a pair that fit perfectly. Size 39. Seemed a bit big, even though I regularly wore 10s, but what did I know about European shoe sizes?

I absolutely wore those things out, the most mileage ever for my shoe dollar. The leather pulled through the fastenings, the wood threatened to split. They became so shabby in appearance I wore them only on my own property; they were not fit to be seen in public. One time my neighbor took them away from me long enough to make some repairs.

These new tan leather, composition sole Birkenstocks don't have near the glamour my wooden clogs had, but they are growing more comfortable day by day. Even my toes have quit complaining.

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