“Is that the new fashion?” My brother asks, pointing at my running shoe. I look down, remembering that I’ve tied the shoelace to the left side, rather than in the centre.
“It’s a long story,” I say, as I bend down to untie that shoe.
See, my husband and I were visiting his parents, and my mother-in-law and I decided to go for a walk one afternoon. After a few minutes of running around finding hats, putting on shoes, getting Sunshine into her Snugli, and telling everyone else in the house where we were going, we headed out. We stopped to see what my father-in-law and brother-in-law were doing at the cow’s watering trough, and then wandered across the cow field. I was watching carefully to make sure that I didn’t step in any cow pies.
Dad often tells the story of he and his dad went for a walk across the cow pasture with a city slicker once. The city slicker was carefully picking his way around every cowpie, worried about his shoes, while Dad and Grandpa just walked across without really noticing where they were walking. When they got to the other side of the field, the city slicker was the only one with any cowpies on his shoes. So I was thinking of that story and smiling, but being careful anyways.
We took a shortcut through some trees and into the back pasture, where we looked at the cows and the swamp and the quad tracks from the family reunion. Then, as Sunshine was getting tired, we turned around to head back. I was telling my mother-in-law about my trip to Ontario, and forgot to watch where I stepped. She was the one who noticed that I’d landed right in a cowpie.
I scraped my shoe along the ground, and walked sideways dragging one foot, and tried to get the cowpie cleaned off. But it was sticky and wouldn’t come. So when we got to the house, I kicked my shoes off outside, not wanting them to smell up the house. I went in and put Sunshine down for her nap, and by the time she was asleep, I’d forgotten to go back out and clean up my shoes.
The next morning, my husband and I were heading out to church. I stood at the top of the stairs and surveyed the stack of shoes at the bottom, trying to find mine. They weren’t there. I asked if anyone else had seen them. Surely nobody would walk off with my shoes? We search around the house and then I remembered I’d left them outside. But they weren’t there either. Finally, as my husband came to help look, then my father-in-law and my mother-in-law, I noticed one running shoe way out in the middle of the lawn.
My father-in-law slipped into his shoes and went out to retrieve mine, while my husband and mom searched around the other side of the house. Then my father-in-law saw the other shoe, down by the driveway, and brought them both back. Apparently some critter had taken a liking to them and dragged them away. He chewed off one shoelace, but otherwise the shoes were fine. So I put them back on again, tying the left shoe to the side because of the shorter shoelace, and we went off to church.
And that is the story of why my shoe was tied to one side.