by Peggy Rice Wright
Luck. That’s what it was. Luck surely brought about by the Irish blood (that would be Southern Irish blood) flowing through my veins. Sometimes there is no other explanation when things fall into place with no effort on the part of the luckee!
It is common knowledge the mere mention of the word “shoes” causes a rise in blood pressure and the exhilaration level reaches heights likely heretofore unknown. Add the term “sale” to the word “shoes,” and a woman would do well to go into her bedroom, close the curtains, turn off the lights, stretch out for a while on top of the bedspread with a cold cloth on her forehead until such time she can function with some level of normalcy. This method of regaining self-control should not expend much time, however, or all of the best shoes will be on someone else’s feet.
It may then be safe to drive, with credit card held tightly between the index and third finger, to the store where shoes are being sold. These are not shoes from some eastern or third world country. Footwear creating such passion is born in the European country whose very silhouette identifies the product revered by shoe aficionados worldwide.
Few companies produce narrow and slender widths in shoes, making my search even more daunting. The shop I was fortunate enough to stumble upon while visiting a distant parish had a buyer with the obvious intelligence to realize all women do not have peasant feet the width of tires on a road grader. Like both parents before me, I not only require slender widths, but I also inherited their long second toe which fits perfectly into the tapered end of fashionable footwear. Both my loving sons affectionately refer to this appendage as a “giraffe toe.” I am hoping one of their children will inherit this regal trait.
No, these shoes known for their impeccable style and quality are not cheap. It matters not. It’s only money. We, as brides of Southern gentlemen, have an image to uphold. If not a part of the pre-nuptial agreement, common sense will kick in and Southern women of proper breeding shall carry on the centuries old obligation to make their husbands look as prosperous as possible till death they do part. I faithfully execute this firm belief and adhere to this well-known admonition in the scriptures, though the exact location of that verse escapes me at the moment. I expect it is somewhere in Lamentations.
As luck would have it, a splendid, classic, lone pair of black patent loafers in the coveted brand name and size awaited me. I hastily snatched them off the rack and slipped them on like Cinderella’s slippers. These were not sitting-down shoes, but footwear that could actually be walked in and worn with comfort, not just displayed in one’s built-in beveled-glass shoe étagère.
As I was about to leave I saw them. White shoes. Who are these people? I was appalled. My previous assessment was that the buyer was of superior intellect, but now my evaluation was in question. Did she not know the rule? A girl should never wear white shoes after sixth grade graduation! Real women know the rule. It is not one of those debatable old wives’ tales, but an edict making perfect sense after being brought to the attention of one with half the sense God gave a goose.
If you dare and no one you know or ever expect to see again is watching, try on a pair of white shoes and then look down at your feet. It’s not just a do-not-wear-linen-after-Labor-Day thing. It is one of those hard and fast truisms that should remain uppermost in your thoughts while shopping, even worse than wearing horizontal stripes. White shoes will make your feet look as if you are wearing the boxes. You may think you look peachy in your sale shoes, but other people will look at you with disdain and pity. The “Bless her heart” you hear as they walk away, casting one last incredulous glance over their shoulder, is not a prayer for your soul, but a comment on your hopeless void of fashion savvy.
An excursion to purchase shoes can reap unexpected benefits. I met one of the best friends I’ll ever have while buying shoes, on sale of course. As I entered the shoe salon I overheard an indifferent salesman with box-car sized feet tell my elegant soon-to-be friend and her darling sister that he had no shoes in a quad width.
I told him he might do well to look again, because I had driven many miles to buy shoes and had absolutely no intention of going home empty handed. After a condescending roll of his eyes and a lengthy search, he brought shoes from the depths of shoe heaven and neither of us went home sans shoes. What a stroke of luck! My friend and I have enjoyed a lasting friendship all because of a common bond.
Shoes and good luck go hand in hand. Both are elusive to the faint hearted, but Southern women are a strong lot and are not likely to be at the end of the line when doors open for a good shoe sale. (There are special sales persons in stores we frequent who know the meaning of customer care and no line is required!)
Peggy Rice Wright put down roots in the small Limestone county town of Mexia, Texas, about one hundred miles south of Dallas, as soon as she married her newspaperman husband Bob. Defecting from the Baptist church as a bride, she is a member of First United Methodist Church and proudly notes that fellow family tree resident Col. Samuel Doak McMahan established Methodism in Texas in September of 1833 amid the pastoral setting of majestic pine trees not far from St. Augustine, near Nacogdoches, Texas. Peggy was Mexia FUMC’s first librarian, served on the charter board to establish a pre-school, directed a children’s choir, was officer and member of the administrative board, taught children’s Sunday School classes and sings in the choir.
She is a longtime employee at Mexia ISD and is currently secretary to the counselors at Mexia High School. She also spends a great deal of time with her Mexia Daily News editor husband.
She is a member of the Jonathan Hardin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a charter member of the Limestone County Republican Women.
Peggy and Bob have two sons, two daughters-in-law, four grandchildren and a grandpuppy named Buddy.
Memories of Jody and Josie
The School Bus That Spit Fire
Fluffy Southern Women
Clotheslines, Yellowjackets, and Chewing Tobacco
Memory Flavored Ice Cream
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