Relaxing before shopping
THE STORY OF THE RED BOOTS – how when you think you’re not suppose to have something – and you actually PRAY about it – stranger things can happen……
Several weeks ago my friend Amy came to visit me in Paris. It was the most wonderful time having “girl time” with her and her BEAUTIFUL daughter Sarah. Amy is full of devilish playful behavior and sometimes at the most unexpected times. She can also be, amidst the humor, very psychoanalytical to the point it makes you think — Hard. I don’t know where she get this from, oh yes, maybe it was all that therapy. LOL. Well, towards the end of her stay we went shopping in the Marais. We hadn’t gone there for shopping per se, we had basically wanted to have a really good, tasty, filling and inexpensive lunch, which doesn’t exist in Paris, except in the Marais at L’as du Fallafel
– the place I’ve been trying to get a falafel pita for several years now but the first time I went years ago, David ‘s uncle nixed the idea, I’m not sure why. Now we were here, it wasn’t the usual super long line that it is on Saturday and we had our fabulous lunch with some red wine. I read that you’re suppose to try their famous lemonade with it, but I didn’t know that so, next time! After we ate, Amy went to look for a New Year’s Eve dress that she would need because she was going to a wedding in Buffalo for New Years. I am thinking….there is no way that Amy is going to find an affordable dress here in the Marais, but I won’t dampen her enthusiasm, and let her do what she needs to do. She found this shop , she goes in and David and I hang outside in the cold waiting for her to try on several dresses.
Several times I went back in and saw that she had actually found a striking dress that was not that expensive and was something that she would not have gotten back in the States, for sure. While she was doodling about with this dress – I went next door and looked at these awesome red boots in the window. I went in and priced them and decided, there was no way I could ever get those boots.
Then, I went back to Amy and she was getting the dress and they were wrapping it so beautifully. It was a joy to see she found something so special and glad too that she was DONE! Now we could move on. I went back to the boot store a second time, showed them to Amy, and we moved on.
As we continued our long walk back to metro and then train we shared more fun stories and were louder than anyone else on the train because NO one talks loud on the metro or the train. If they talk , it’s in whispers. I’m sure we gave away that we were A M E R I C A N S because we talked and laughed LOUDLY. It’s embarrassing actually, when you realize that you’re the only one doing this and then it’s like being in church where everything strikes you funny and then you start laughing even more than normally. It’s vicious! Well, Amy left me to go back home a couple of days later. Several days after she left I went back to the Marais and looked at “my” red boots again. I wasn’t going to try them on, even though she asked me to – and I was sure they wouldn’t have my big size anyway. I just wanted to “feel “ them because they were so luscious.
Now, this being said, it is not that shoes play a particular importance for me. I usually get one really nice pair of walking shoes a year because I have super bad knees and if I have good walking shoes it makes a huge difference in how your knees feel at the end of a long walking day.
I don’t walk much in the States, but here, I walk plenty, usually 2 or more hours a day. Some days it’s an all day long affair.
But, there was something about these soft leather red boots that just didn’t leave me and I knew that they would probably be good to walk in all day because of the way in which they were constructed, the low heel and the baby soft calf leather. They were also a name I had never heard before so later I googled the name and realized they were a particular designer shoe and there was no way in the world I could or should buy a designer shoe. That just wasn’t me.
Another week goes by and I have not only mentioned the red boots as a barometer for everything that I will need in the rest of my living days but nothing, absolutely nothing goes past the gauge of the “red boots”. “Yeah, well, it would be nice to upgrade the iPhone but that would be a pair of red boots.” No, if we went to eat at that restaurant tonight, I could almost afford my red boots”. If we don’t go home for Christmas, I could afford my red boots.” It just became a joke – and we laughed and laughed about this. The red boots became great fun fodder. They had a hold on me.
The next week I had a knitting class but decided to go to the Marais first and “check” on my boots.
That was the story I wrote about waiting as 5 trains past me by because I couldn’t read the metro map as there were so many changes in getting from Gare du Nord to the St Paul Metro, the exit for the Boot SHOP! Well, I got to St Paul so late, I had to completely nix the boot “check” and go back to the church where I could knit. Long story short, I never made it because I got totally lost on the streets.
Well, last night was the last time I could do any shopping for anyone in my family before going home. Then we heard that there was a strike going on at the Paris airports and it looked like we would not get out when we wanted to so this would be a disappointment, but there’s always Christmas day. (Usually strikes and whatever else are OVER by the time Christmas actually comes around) and if we had to go on Christmas,it was better than not going home at all – so we would do it. ) Therefore, last night was the last time to really shop. I went thinking,” this is the last time I can find a few things and I’ll go check my boots out! “
SOLD OUT OF RED BOOTS!
Yes, my boots were still in the window. The long ones, the shorter ones. She greeted me as she always does, with such a pleasant smile and motioned me to sit down and to please try them on. “SIT DOWN! – On THAT tiny stool practically equal to the FLOOR, are you KIDDING me?” Well, I did NOT say that, but was so thinking that because truth be told, my KNEES, they do not bend that far. What is this arthritic BABCIA doing in this mod place with cool boots in the FIRST place? Ah yes, Most of the time I feel 33, not 63, so ” sit your butt down Marti and just DEAL WITH IT!” I tell myself this. Then I told her my size. “Oh”, she said sadly, “we only have a 36” I knew a 36 would not even fit my big toe, so I said, okay, well, can I try on a 40 in the other color. She hands me a brown boot, the low-cut and it fits beautifully, but it’s wrong. It’s the wrong color. I just bought a pair of (cheap) brown boots at the flea market the week before. They kill my feet, but I take another pair of shoes with me if my 2 hours of walking turns into 4 or 5. It works. Well, she checked one more time and said, “I’m so sorry, I do not have your size. I know what you need, and ..” I interrupted her and said, ‘BUT! You will have more of this designer boot in the spring, right?” And she sadly shook her head and said in her broken English “I am sorry, we change designers every season and feature a new one, – This boot is finished.” “Oh. Okay”, I say.
Well, I got up , thanked her very much for all her help as they really do go out of their way to make things work and try to help in a way that I’ve never been helped buying shoes before. Then as I started walking the streets of the Marais, I decided to just enjoy the lovely shops everywhere. I did find some lovely little things for my family and it was fun to check out colors and styles…..Thinking, when I get back home, this is the style and this is the color, and maybe, just maybe, KOHLS or JC PENNEY will have SOMETHING similar and 1/2 the price? (Doubt it. ) I checked out 4 or 5 more shoe stores, all with the most lovely of shoes – but never did I see another pair of red boots like I had seen in that little shop. They were no where. And the ones that were there – were gone. Finished.
I checked in with David on my cell phone and he said that the party was on – that spouses were invited (when originally – partners – spouses were NOT to come) so I headed out. I didn’t tell him that the boots were FINI that would be later. As I walked, I thanked God for the opportunity to just W A L K. And for WALKING in this city, and for the lovely things that were always meeting my in the eye and beholding lovely creations, lovely architecture, lovely lovely people, everywhere I went. I was grateful for EVERYTHING that was coming down on me like a warm sensuous shower even as I walked in cold windy outdoor weather. Then I said something to God….and it was this. “God, I know that if I’m suppose to have a pair of boots like I’ve seen and fallen head over heals for – that if I’m to have them, something will happen and you will see that I get them. I’m grateful for what I do have, and I feel just fine without them because if I was meant to have them, it would have worked out. Thank you Thank you Thank you for what you have given me already. Just being here is the best gift.” Now, I know some of you reading this will definitely think that praying to God in this way is totally ridiculous and inane. That God has no time for deciding whether a person gets a pair of boots or not, he’s very busy with WARS and Children and people with no hope and natural disasters and on and on. But I don’t believe that He doesn’t care about the most minuscule thing in a person’s life. Especially a person that believes in Him and knows that He is the owner of their salvation. That is my belief and I know it to be true.
When I told David after the party that the boots “were finished” as she put it, he felt bad but I told him I did not, and not to worry. I was fine with it.
Today when he went in to do his teaching, he said that something just came over him – for him to go to the Marais afterwards and try to find me those boots. He remembered that I said they had sold out – all finished, but he went anyway. When he entered that little shop, the sales clerk remembered him (but of course, we had been there how many times?) and she said,” I know, I saw your wife last night. We do not have a 40 and she needs a 40. I had the brown but she said she had already bought a pair of brown boots.” Then David looked at her and she looked at him, like there was nothing more to say, but sorry again, which she did, and then there was silence. All of a sudden, she takes her scanner and goes under the counter and starts frantically scanning every pair under there. All of a sudden she looks up – and her face goes almost white and she says, ‘Oh, I’ve made a mistake !!! I have a 40 here, in red, the cropped boot….I didn’t know I had anymore! is that okay?” And David says, UH, YEAH!! I THINK SO!!!” And she just shakes her head like she cannot believe that, voila – here, right here is this box with a pair of red boots in it – 40 – (my size,) and she looks at David like she can’t believe this is happening – either. David said it was just he and the sales girl in there and it was an almost surreal moment, because she honestly was so shocked that there was a pair left and that it was going to fit me and David was also shocked that she was even telling him all of this.
So, long story short, I had my Christmas early, because had he tried to take them to St Louis then the Vat Tax guy would say, “Show me the goods” and then the “SURPRISE” would no longer be a surprise, so instead, he gave them to me tonight. That is my story, and it is a story of giddy happiness, and surprise and wonderment, that this ‘ole BABCIA/grandma can still end up with a total lovely gift, surprised beyond surprised, thankful and not quite sure how it all came about, but also knowing that this thing called “prayer” works in so many mysterious ways and it isn’t the first time!