This is is my favorite pair of shoes. They have seen miles of usage and recently underwent the spraying of our deck, hence the speckles. I almost always put them on when I get up in the morning and when I come home from work (or other events in which my wife would die of embarrassment should I try to sneak out of the house with them). It reminds me of what Mister Rogers used to do at the beginning of every episode, slip into his comfy sneakers.
The shoes (slides, properly) came to mind as I attended my 40th (Ye Gods!) high school reunion. My attendance at these events has been rather spotty. I went to the 20th and then skipped a couple, finally getting to our 35th. Actually, I should probably thank Face Book for that. I had a number of former fifth graders asking me to join and I also wanted to have some sort of oversight on my twin daughters’ activity. Soon after I started to make all sorts of connections to people still living in the Midwest and, surprisingly, to several classmates who live within 20 minutes of our home. Because of these connections, I have met classmates traveling through the Denver area, had others stay at our home, even hosted members of a band, one of whom is the daughter of a high school friend.
Back to the shoes… I can’t throw them out. I tried to hide them in my closet, but I always end up digging them out. They are so comfortable, even though they could fall apart at the seams at any step. Come to think of it, I also have a sweater like that… Anyway, I feel at home in these shoes which is why I was reminded of them as I traveled back to Indiana. Seeing my oldest friend, Brian and his gracious spouse, Linda, made me feel like I was slipping into the slides once again. We hadn’t seen each other in five years, but it seemed just like yesterday. Comfortable and familiar. Old shoes.
Curiously though, Brian wasn’t the first classmate I met, as he got tied up at work and couldn’t meet me at their beach house. I had to drive by myself to Munster and the pre-reunion party at Cheers. At the last reunion I was shocked to walk into this place and be assaulted by a fog of cigarette smoke. I was grateful that health-sustaining laws were passed in the meantime. I pulled into the parking lot about 20 minutes early and was a bit reluctant to go in without Brian. He was always so much sweeter than I was. But I decided that was silly as I am a nearly grown man.
The gods (including the beer gods) were smiling down on me that night as the first people I saw were my friend, Joann, and her beau, Ted The Man (my nickname-another long story). Besides our lengthy communications on FB, Joann and I had dinner in Denver once as she was in town for a conference. Eventually the conversation turned to beer and, naturally, Three Floyds Brewery in Munster (for more information on Three Floyds, see my post http://beeredland.com/2014/08/23/anticipations-and-expectations-part-one-the-three-floyds-and-new-belgium-collaboration-gratzer/).
I have a sister in New Buffalo, MI and her eldest son,Zach, is a partner in a craft brewing venture, Burn ‘Em Brewing in Michigan City, IN.
After visiting the new but already award-winning set up, she took me to a liquor store where I could buy as much 3 Floyds beer as I could get. When checking out at the counter, I related my story to the cashier.She immediately pointed out the single bottles of Three Floyds’ Zombie Dust on the counter. There was a small sign that said “Two per customer”. She offered the sole remaining bottle as well and I said that I didn’t want to get her in trouble. She cheerfully related that she could not get into trouble as she was the owner. I left with a number of bombers, a six pack of Robert the Bruce, and THREE bottles of Zombie Dust! SCORE!!
A short digression…
This is my normally oh-so-sweet nephew, Keith. He visited my sister the day after I left. It appears he is holding my beer hostage. I was promised that it is now in more trustworthy hands.
Back to Joann and Ted The Man at our booth in Cheers… Joann had mentioned in an FB post that I would have to try Zombie Dust. That night she told me that she had bought a six pack for me. Awestruck! Years earlier she had delivered a six pack of Robert The Bruce Scottish Ale. Could my beer god actually be a beer goddess? Anyway, the exchange was delayed as the bar was filled with former classmates and I was the only one with a real camera. Our paths crossed many times that evening when Ted The Man informed me that had had given one bottle away, to whom I didn’t know. Joann was mortified now and couldn’t possibly give an old friend a five pack. I hope I eased her dread when I told her that everything was fine. My friend, Brian, had earlier told her that I would have been thrilled with one. To which I retorted that I would have probably been happy with just the six pack cardboard container. Old shoes.
Flash forward to the reunion dinner.
This is Bruce who is the husband of Alison, the reunion organizer. You can see the five pack. It was Bruce who received the sixth bottle. You can probably sense the devilishness in his demeanor (except when I was tagging photos for Face Book, when I hovered the cursor over Bruce’s face, my name came up as the suggested tag…WHOA, I’ll be noodling on that for awhile). And further mischief continues to this day. A few days after my arrival back home I received this photo in a text message from a 219 area code.
The suspects are one, well, two actually. Bruce and Alison are tormenting me now. Old shoes.
Once my beer is shipped, I will raise a glass to old friends, new friends, and future adventures. I may even bring along my old shoes.
PS. Three Floyds’ Zombie Dust is an outstanding beer!
Beer may cause you to digress-and lead a happier life. Michael Jackson (not that one)
Mister Rogers Image- http://www.riprense.com/Mister_Rogers.htm
Brian and I- Melody Fisher
Bruce and I- Joann Wleklinski, my camera though…
Dark Lord Bottles- Alison Corban Norton