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Where, or Where Have My Brand New Boots Gone?

by Rose Madeline Mula

Those of us who are old enough will remember that many years ago, Nancy Sinatra (Frank's daughter—and please don't tell me you don't remember Frank) sang about her boots that were made for walking. I owned just such a pair of footwear, but only too briefly. My boots did not "walk all over" a faithless lover as did Nancy's. Mine simply walked out of my life. Yes, my $65 boots disappeared the very first day I wore them, purloined as I visited a magnificent home in tony Winchester, Massachusetts.

Did the butler do it? Or the upstairs maid? Or maybe one of the host's children, bored with his abundance of high tech toys and looking for a new thrill? No, none of the above. The solution is much more mundane.

My boots were taken by another guest in the home—by mistake, I'm sure. I was on a holiday house tour, you see; and because of the slushy snow outside, all visitors were asked to remove their shoes before entering each home. Understandable, but uncomfortable.

At house No. 3 on my tour, I dutifully followed orders and added my boots to the large collection on the front portal and padded inside in my socks, which by now were sodden from traversing wet porches—so much for protecting the floors and rugs of the homes. When I emerged, after dutifully "ohing" and "ahing" over the lovely interior dcor, I did my one-foot balancing act as I tried to don my boots. It wasn't working. I tugged, I pulled, I even swore. Nothing helped. I finally found a chair on the porch, again being forced to walk in my stocking feet through puddles left by all the dripping footwear. I sat, pulled, and tugged some more. Same results; i.e., no results. The boots simply would not cooperate.

I finally realized why. They weren't my boots. Though they looked like twins to mine, these were size 7 Bandolinos. Mine were size 9 Naturalizers. Obviously, the Bandolino owner had left the house before I did and had mistaken my boots for hers. Of course, they glided very easily onto her size 7 feet. Too easily. Didn't she realize that? Apparently not.

Meanwhile, there I sat—shoeless in my wet socks, and a couple of blocks of slush and snow separating me from my friend's car. I sloshed back into the house and spoke to the volunteer in charge to ask if she could phone the other houses on the tour to see if my wayward boots had walked in on someone else's feet. "No," she snapped, "I have no phone numbers." Could she phone the coordinators of the tour, my friend asked, and get some help. "No," she repeated robotically, "I have no phone number." "How am I supposed to get to my car without shoes?" I wailed. That wasn't her problem, she retorted ungraciously, and not her responsibility. Maybe not, but would a sympathetic "Tsk! Tsk!" have been too difficult?

Fortunately, my friends came up with a solution. Two would go the car, one would remove her boots, and the other would carry them back to me so I could get to the car and back home to pick up some substitute shoes. Problem solved—except I still don't have my brand new boots.

There's a lesson here: If you're ever asked to remove any article of clothing, be aware of the danger of complying.

 

Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through Amazon.com and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.

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