Sunday 28 April 2024

Tales of my father

I wear running shoes, or sneakers if you prefer, practically all year. I think I currently have two pairs of running shoes and one pair of boots. I think that is all the footwear I own. When I was married my wife had about one hundred pairs of various footwear.

My father grew up on a farm. He died March 5, 1997. His preferred footwear was cowboy boots, or as he sometimes called them riding boots. I rarely saw him wear anything else. I owned a few pair through the years, I could never like wearing them.

Years ago I had left home, was single, and trying to figure out my way in life. I had a bit of an adversarial relationship with my parents. Both of them made my life miserable in my late teens. It may have been by design or there may have been other issues unknown to me. At one point I got fed up and left and cut off contact for a number of months.

Things got better after a few years. Things got far better years later. We were never the type of family to talk about things so past issues were never discussed. I never did find out what the problem was. After a time I started coming home to visit on the occasional weekend.

Dad had kind of decided that maybe he should seek out more comfortable footwear. Wearing cowboy boots all those years were getting to be hard on his body. So he bought a pair, a good pair, of running shoes. He wore them twice, tossed them in the closet and went back to wearing boots. Dad was a creature of habit and some habits were hard to break, namely wearing boots. On a visit home when I was getting ready to leave I noticed a like new pair of runners in the closet by the front door. Dad and I were the same shoe size so I put them in my bag and never mentioned it to anyone. I figured he owed me for past transgressions.

My father could occasionally be absent minded. On a subsequent visit home I checked the closet and there was another pair of pristine shoes. He must have thought he forgot where he put the last pair, given up trying to find them, and bought another pair. I filched those as well. He would try runners but kept going back to his boots. His boots were part of his identity, dad never seemed to be dad if he was not wearing a nice pair of cowboy boots.

I carried this off a few more times. Then one day I got a phone call.

“Have you been stealing my shoes?”


I heard “Goddamn it” in a slightly annoyed voice. “I could not figure out where my shoes were disappearing to” and he hung up. 

I left his footwear alone after that. I had enough shoes for years.


  1. Family fun is always interesting. My wife would take her Dad's books to read and then put them in her collection. When he visited, he would say "That's my book" and off it would go.

  2. Ha! What was he doing with those runners? Maybe he knew all along you needed them but didn't want you thinking he was so absent minded he forgot he was replacing sneakers all of the time.

  3. That's funny!! I love this story. I guess I'm somewhat odd in that I don't own many shoes and absolutely hate having to buy new ones. My runners lasted me over ten years and I just last week ordered a new pair, protesting all the while. I think Resident Chef was ashamed to be seen with me so I took pity on him and bought new ones. I have one pair of 'dress' shoes (also more than ten years old); a pair of spring/fall light boots; and one pair of winter boots. One pair of in-house Birkenstocks and one pair of sandals (usually my mostly worn-out 'house' Birks). A shoe person I am not!

  4. At least you haven't totally turned into a moral and intellectual degenerate like I have. I am running around in crocs. On the plus side - I don't have to worry about footwear filtchers... :)