I need a new pair of walking shoes. You know, the kind we used to call tennis shoes and our mothers called sneakers. The kind that I wear every single day, winter or summer, because I don’t like looking at my toes.
The last pair I got just over one year ago, is definitely in need of replacement. After all, they’ve seen a lot this year.
When they were brand-new, they walked me up and down the Champs d’Elysees in Paris, where they proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was NOT French. Had they been black boots, then I might have fit in, but white tennis shoes – no way. They carried me carefully up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. It wasn’t my shoe’s fault that I was terrified and out of breath when I got to the top.
They’ve stood me in front of the Mona Lisa while I marveled at how TINY she is and helped me span centuries as I perused the corridors of the amazing building where she and so many other works of art are housed. They took me, protestant that I am, into Sainte Chappelle Cathedral, where I drooled over the beauty of that place – truly the most gorgeous church I’ve ever entered.
They walked me beneath the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where I marveled at the unified city and rejoiced at the fall of the Berlin Wall.
They carried me home to welcome-back hugs and Girl Scout meetings and church potlucks. They brought me to umpteen rehearsals and six performances of Beauty and the Beast, where they couldn’t help it if I wasn’t coordinated or sang off-key. They helped me pick tomatoes and herbs and weeds. They took me to Turkey Day and Thanksgiving and Christmas in Seattle where they went with me up the Space Needle in the fog.
They saw me to Vancouver, B.C., where we perused Chinatown and saw the Olympic cauldron and didn’t get mugged.
They walked though the snow and rain and dust of Minnesota. They helped me shop and drive. They took me to meetings and grocery stores and gas stations.
They showed me things I’ve never seen before.
They brought me home at the end of each day, to waiting arms and sloppy kisses, to birthday parties and homework sessions and innumerable mugs of tea.
And that, my friends, is the best place they could possibly have led me.