We were already pressed for time when I picked up my son to take him to the airport to catch a plane to El Paso where he was to attend a banquet. As we drove to the Little Rock airport, we talked about the books he had read, his classes and professors and life at home.
At the airport, he pulled out his driver’s license to prove he was himself and answered all their questions to ensure he was a safe passenger. We strolled to his gate, where we waited for his flight to be called.
I glanced down and noticed his boots: Permanently, liberally sprinkled in red, blue and yellow paint spots from a summer of work.
“You do have your dress shoes for the banquet Saturday night?” I asked nervously.
“This will be the first call for flight 154 to Dallas,” the intercom interrupted me. “Please have your boarding passes ready.”
He hoisted his backpack onto his shoulder with a grin. “Nope, I just brought my boots.”
My instinctive scolding blustered into hopeless silence. The plane was waiting, “I guess those will have to do,” I moaned.
He chuckled. He had once again pulled my maternal chain with his footwear.
I’ll never understand why he bothered to take dress shoes, loafers and sneakers to college. He has avoided wearing them since he was a senior in high school.
At that time he wanted to go barefoot but it was prohibited. HE did the next best thing. He cut off the cloth over the toe and heel to his sneakers, ripped out the lining and declared that he had a pair of sandals.
The remodeled sneakers were definitely light weight and airy and expose his hairy toes as much as any sandals. He had no interest in replacing them with a pair of sandals.
He is a frugal soul and a bit obsessive about keeping his possessions long after anyone else would have replaced them. With another pair of sneakers, he repaired the tears, rends and outrages of daily wear with wire, duct tape and glue. Anything to hold them together was used until for the second afternoon in a row, he sat down to pull the shreds of cloth back together and nothing held. At last, he reluctantly deposited them in the dumpster.
The next summer, he served with Teen Missions International where sneakers were prohibited. Every teen has to wear sturdy work boots all 10 weeks. After wearing boots all summer, he continued to wear them through the next two years of college until the once thick soles were thin. When they proved irreparable, he sadly released them to the trash bin.
Those boots were replaced this past summer when his job at Lion Oil required safety boots. HE bought brown camouflage boots that through a daily baptism of paint, became multi-colored one he wore at the airport.
Hey, he wears shoe and is studying at college. I should be happy, right?
I’ll try to remember that next time he attend church attired in suit, tie and multi-colored camouflage boots.