By Ken DeLaat
Those who know me are aware of a long term fascination I’ve held for orphaned footwear.
You know, the solitary sole sitting aside the road daring anyone to deduce how they arrived there and more importantly (at least to me) what it might mean?
Over the years I’ve had photos sent to me of shoe sightings, shoe trees up north, and a length of highway in Texas with boots on the fence posts. I’ve had a few forlorn footwear delivered to me and for a spell one appeared in my driveway once a week, but that turned out to be a friend with prior knowledge of this quirk of mine and a strange sense of humor.
The puzzle their presence presents has come to me on those nights when one awakens at 3ish for no apparent reason and the mind begins to wander about.
“What could it mean?” becomes the unanswerable question (as all 3 a.m. questions tend to be) pondered until either sleep or dawn interrupts.
My ever patient Lifetime Spousal Companion Lil has endured decades of what some have called an obsession. From pointing out the frequency of these wayward waifs during the multitude of road trips we’ve taken to calling her to let her know of a spotting that occurred on my own, (“I was in a meeting. Don’t call me at work anymore about shoes ok?”) she has arrived at a place of resignation that my interest in this phenomena is unlikely to diminish.
In turn I’ve tried to temper my enthusiasm when on road trips, and I don’t call her anymore after a spotting even though she’s now retired from work, important meetings and such.
Being rather busy these days and with the snow making such roadside discoveries rare I have kind of compartmentalized my interest. Tucked it away so to speak.
In truth I had almost stopped thinking about it.
Then I spotted this missive from Barbara Condon while cruising about on social media:
I volunteer for Community Closet. We were given a box of single shoes. Does anyone have any ideas for a single shoe? We would like to keep them out of the landfill.
I was stunned. Shaken. The sheer proliferation pictured seemed to be an omen of sorts.
Yes, by all means keep them out of the landfill. Send them to a research lab, maybe get the government involved (if they aren’t already), call in an angekok, or send for a wiccan but for pity’s sake don’t get rid of them.
I am certain these solo soles know something.
And I, for one, want some answers!
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