A girl’s gotta have shoes and once in a while life spins at a pace that your footprints are the only way you remember…. 🙂 I’ve made some tracks since the middle of October and the shoes I’ve packed have defined the journeys…
My trusty hiking boots get the prize for most appreciated shoes of the month. Early in this cycle, I chaperoned the 5th grade environmental camping trip — along with an intrepid (read insane) band of parents, several teachers and 70 ten and eleven year olds. We hiked, you would have loved the night hike — lit by sounds and stars. The kids waded in the lake (I passed), and learned to paddle their own canoes, really, truly and only slightly damp. In a personal triumph, I HELD every snake the naturalists passed around the nature circle — from a little hognose, to an enormous boa. My favorite was the python named, “Monty.”
I got to slog around Gettysburg in an absolutely glorious deluge on several walking tours, hereafter known as the Niagara Muster. Imagine this — 20 or 30 people so eager to learn about the history of a place that they hike, wade and squelch for three hours as rain and wind force the speakers to scream into the storm. Too much fun!!!
Finally, Chris & I got to celebrate our anniversary — only a little late. G-rated as I’ll keep this, and while this would be a natural place to transition to high heels — I also got to hike. There is a place in Saluda, NC called Pearson’s Falls. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but in any season this dappled place of sun and shade, of water and rocks defines peace for me. That Sunday afternoon, the leaves were at peak and the greens and greys were joined by flame oranges, yellows like ripe pears, and red that rivaled the sunset.
I’ll start here with the high heels and sashay back and forth along the timeline as the shoes demand. There is a Japanese Spa in Asheville, NC where they have the coolest hot tubs that overlook the mountains and massage therapists on staff who are skilled beyond words. Coming back to our quaint little B&B in Saluda, we were greeted with wine and asked if we had dinner plans. “Not really, should we?” It turns we should. At a little local place, called the Purple Onion, Donna Hughes was performing. OK — you know by now that I’m a music junkie, so the chance to hear someone who’s written for Allison Krauss and Tony Rice, who’s opened for Marty Stuart was HUGE. Chris, who likes his crowds small & Civil War related, was a doll. He even patiently waited an hour, while I wiggled in my heels 🙂 . I saw Donna come in and sit down at the bar — so I went to say hello. I told her I was a fan, mentioned my favorite song (which was the set opener) and we started chatting. Turns out she was a history major in college, and grew up 10 miles from me. She came over, sat with us and just had the best time…. and it got even better when she sang. OMG!!! Purr of satisfaction for one of the best weekends EVER!
Another best EVER was back in Gettysburg. I gave a little lecture updating some of my research on the reunions. As the dinner speaker, I was heeled and professional and completely over-awed. Not only were my in-laws in the crowd, but one of the attendees was a participant in the 1938 reunion. He is 103 years old, an awesome interview subject and I was flattered beyond belief that he came out in the evening to hear me speak. At the conclusion, he took my hand and said that I had honored him with my research. I don’t think my feet touched the ground for the rest of the weekend. Chris & I got to go out with friends while the family kept the girlies, and then I got to go out and play another night. Live music again — check out the “Whisky in a Jar,” cover below, or Eva Cassidy’s stuff.
After Thanksgiving, I should be back on a regular writing schedule — yet there have been a few more fun times for the shoes.
I co-chaired the local elementary school’s Book Fair which was a Jungle Safari, so I got to glam it up as a booted, female Indy guiding the kids on a “reading adventure.” Truly awesome and truly time consuming.
More poignant, was the school’s Veterans’ Day program. We got the music department, the art department and all the kids involved. One of the teachers had had students over the past 3 years adopt a soldier in Iraq. They had corresponded with him faithfully, and there was a Powerpoint of some of the questions and answers. All 800 kids made multiple poppies in art class, and on the day of our celebration — we had a huge bin of red flowers waiting. We had invited parents, serving soldiers and any veterans. The walls of the hallway leading to the gym were plastered with posters of vets from WWI forward. I had arranged with a local Army unit to provide a color guard for the procession of the flag & the national anthem.
Five minutes before the K-2 program, no color guard. I’m pacing the porch and the school hall in my heels — wondering where they are. Finally I approach 2 Dads in uniform, and explain my dilemma. They step up beautifully. They march the flag in, and their kids are ecstatic. After the 1st program, one of the dads tells me, “hey, tell Army (as in the) when they show up the Navy & Air Force didn’t let you down.”
While I’m waiting for the 3-5 program to begin, my liaison from the Army does show up, wondering where his guys are. Turns out, they didn’t translate what I said into military time, so they were expecting to show up that night. Upshot was there would be no Color Guard for the older kids. The Colonel told me not to worry, found one of the guys from the 1st program, added 2 others — and began to drill them. We had an honor guard of Army, Air Force, Marine, and Army Reserve all in uniform and all completely wonderful!
I did the history speech, explained to the kids about Veterans’ Day and reminded them that these heroes are dads, moms, grandpas and other relatives. Then each kid gave his/her “veteran” a poppy. I still tear up thinking how truly sweet it was. I wasn’t the only one. And the kids were fabulous, they were so completely respectful and well-behaved. There were vets there from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and serving soldiers on leave. One grandpa came up with his sons — all of them had graduated from our elementary school. Again, I don’t think the gym floor had to worry about damage from my heels — they didn’t touch the floor!
Like I said, shoes tell the story……..
well-shod playlist: More Adventurous (Rilo Kiley); Landslide (just for kicks try the Smashing Pumpkins cover); Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground); Whisky in the Jar (go traditional with the Highwaymen version; use Metallica to be hip and my coolest take is one by BLUE ON GREEN); Zip-a-dee-doo-dah (check out Ric Ocasek); He Plays the Violin (from 1776); Time after Time (Donna Hughes — awesome voice, a must check out); Skyline Drive (None of the Above); Down Home Girl (Old Crow Medicine Show); Stay on the Ride (Patty Griffin); Might as Well Dance (Patty Larkin); In My Life (Shawn Colvin); To Live is to Fly (Townes van Zandt); You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To (Doris Day); The Water is Wide (Eva Cassidy); Going North (Missy Higgins); Umbrella (Rihanna); Many the Miles (Sara Barielles); You Must’ve Fallen (Ben Taylor); Ordinary Day (Dolores O’Riordan); Till the Morning Comes (Grateful Dead); Fields of Gold (Sting); Raggle Taggle Gypsy (Celtic Thunder); Stormy Whether (the Willys)
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. –> Henry David Thoreau