Most Interesting Shoe by
have a friend
who loves shoes…loves shopping for them and wearing them, even has jewelry with
shoe designs. At lunch one day she suggested it might be fun to write a story
about the most interesting shoes we've ever owned. I had to admit that most of
my shoes, bought with comfort not beauty in mind, were pretty boring over all.
Then I remembered, the most interesting shoe I ever owned was a gauze and plaster
cast with a walking heel. This was not just any cast. It was a cast that would
be ogled by a pop superstar and autographed by an Oscar winning actor and it would
afford me a good laugh and an ego boost in a troubled time.|
I was publicizing
a music awards show in Fort Worth, Texas. It was to be one of the most beautiful
country music events ever presented at the Convention Center. There were ice sculptures,
a sit-down steak dinner, and fruit and flowers flown in from Hawaii and Columbia.
The largest florist company in Fort Worth was handling decorations and when I
called to ask how I should describe them in a press release I was connected directly
to the president of the company.
There would be many VIP guests and I
was asked to serve as one of the usher/escorts who would lead special guests to
their seats on awards night. The celebrity I was to escort was the president of
a major music organization in Nashville.
I spent weeks writing press
releases touting the event and had built up a high level of anticipation for this
glamorous gala evening. About 10:30 the night before the big party my phone rang.
Rushing to grab the phone so it would not wake sleeping members of my household,
I tripped on my son's shoes and managed to twist my foot beneath me. I landed
in a heap on the floor with pain radiating from my foot. This felt different from
any sprains and pulled ligaments I had previously experienced.
to the still-ringing phone and croaked hello. One of my friends was calling to
tell me that the VIP from Nashville I was to escort to his seat had invited her
to be his date. She was glowing with excitement. I said that's very nice, but
I don't think I'll be seating you. I think I broke my foot when I answered the
I spent the next five minutes assuring her it was not her fault
that I was a klutz, make that a blind klutz, unable to see a size nine running
shoe in plain sight in the middle of the floor. We discussed what she should wear,
settled on something we both thought was right and I took two aspirin and crawled
to bed on hands and knees.
"Yep, it's broken," my doctor pronounced the
next morning as he pointed to a line where there wasn't supposed to be one on
the x-ray. I had assumed it was broken and had refused to even try to step on
it, hopping, with my husband's help, into the emergency room, yet I was still
dismayed by the diagnoses.
"But it CAN'T be broken," I said with emphasis
on the "can't."
"You don't understand, I am too busy right now," I explained
as if I could somehow negotiate with the x-ray.
"I can't possibly take
a time out for a broken foot," I was starting to whine by now. "I'm escorting
a country music executive to his seat tomorrow night, and in two days I'm going
to Nashville to attend the CMA Awards show for the first time ever. That's like
the Academy Awards when you work in country music. They are putting red carpet
on the parking lot from the Opryland theater to the Opryland hotel where they
are having the "after awards" party and I have already paid way more than I can
afford to buy my tickets and it is too late to turn them in, so I have to go."
doctor told the nurse to mix some plaster and calmly began wrapping gauze around
my foot and ankle as if he had not heard a single word I had just wailed.
"It will be hurting enough the next few days I probably don't need to tell you
to stay off it," he said as he applied plaster to the gauze.
When I hobbled
back to the waiting room where I had left my husband earlier, the waiting room
nurse said, "Your daddy said to tell you he'd be back shortly."
But I don't…oh…yes…my daddy," I said. I will teach him to go wandering around
the hospital while the doctor is rewriting my engagement calendar for the next
few weeks I thought.
"What are you grinning about?" my husband asked when
he returned. "Your foot is not broken after all?"
"Oh my foot is broken
alright, and it hurts like…well it hurts. I'm grinning because the nurse thinks
I look young enough to be your daughter."
a smart person would have rented a wheelchair and carried on their life as usual
but I never even thought to do that. I chose crutches and soon discovered they
were not as easy to manage as I had supposed. They were well padded but not enough
to keep from hurting my underarms unless I could support my weight with my arms,
which were soon feeling shaky. I turned my ushering duties over to a friend visiting
from Nashville who probably was not as thrilled as I would have been. The VIP
was someone she saw every week.
On awards night I managed to find my table
and it was a lovely dinner, every bit as nice as I had described in my press releases.
After dinner I had to make my way all the way across to the other side of the
cavernous convention center for the awards and entertainment part of the evening.
So here I am in an evening gown, awkwardly hobbling along…step, hobble, sigh,
step, hobble, sigh. It is taking me a l-o-n-g time. I notice the pop superstar
who was to be the crowning jewel on this evening's entertainment…the one whose
17 page contract said that no one is to speak to him backstage unless he speaks
to them first…is watching every painstaking step I take. I seriously doubted that
he was in any way enamored with my middle aged huffing and puffing, so just pile
a heap of self consciousness on top of everything else I think.
after what seemed like I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death,
I reached the auditorium and would soon be sitting down…in the dark…where no one
could see me.
"Come here," the host of the event said. "I want you to
found myself looking up into the handsome, smiling face of Ben Johnson. Ben Johnson,
the cowboy turned actor who'd cast a long shadow in Hollywood, making dozens of
Westerns with John Wayne, Ward Bond, Maureen O'Hara and others. The actor who
won an Academy Award for his role of Sam the Lion in The Last Picture Show, and
he was telling me he was pleased to meet me. Then he autographed my cast and gave
me a hug. Which I enjoyed far more than I probably should ever admit. |
Yes, the most interesting shoe I ever had was not a shoe at all.