A little ‘sole’ searching – Beside the Point

I bought a new pair of shoes this weekend. I have two other pairs – one a pair of Brooks that I used for walking and jogging, and the other just a pair of gray Nikes I got at an outlet mall that I kicked around in.

Brooks are a very light walking/running shoe with good support, but these newfangled things have no tongue.

They feel like they’re made of elastic and you slip them on, but you also have shoestrings. They’re a royal blue and gray pair I picked up on the sale side at Running Wild in Burlington.

I like to go there because they check your gait. I always put a hand on my hip and slap a little funk on it while I’m walking down an aisle as they watch. My sister-in-law and niece were with me. They should have known better. I like to take Susan with me when I shop because she always knows where to find the best deals. She’s also good at letting me know I need to “shop around”.

We went to a couple different places and tried on a bunch of shoes. These were best at the best price.

Now these are running and walking shoes, but since they were in the sale category, if I wore them outside they might not be able to accept them as returns. The only reason i would return them is if they didn’t perform during road work. Guess I’m putting in 30 minutes on the stairs at the house.

There’ll be no need to return them. Brooks is a solid brand and I’m very fond of the product. Just seemed a bit weird.

I bought my last pair of Brooks about 12 years ago. I got paint on them at some point and the fabric is starting to wear, but they are still the most comfortable athletic shoes I’ve ever had.

A good shoe is like a good friend. Right there with ya when the going is a little tough. The better the fit, the easier the going, and you don’t even really notice how good they are until the hard part’s over.

I have a friend like that. I’m going to see him and his family in a few weeks. We’ll play some golf and catch up. We’re going into Milwaukee for a Saturday Reds/Brewers game. Some of you reading this know this guy from Fort Madison High School.

He used to work for me when I ran the KFC in the early 2000s. He was one of Allen Chapman’s right hand guys during dinner theater. He used to play a pretty decent hand of Euchre. I’m sure I would own him in a best 2 of 3 husband/wife square off.

Noah Jenkins dropped everything and ran to my side when we lost Kelsey 16 month’s ago. He hardly said a word, just quietly doing what a friend does at those times. Support. A perfect fit at a time when things are going to be a bit rough.

I dragged him around to Iowa City to help pack things up and then bring them home. I dragged him to meet with close and extended family. Some he knew, some he didn’t. yet he sat next to me and listened to the conversations. I could tell he wasn’t really listening to them, but watching me without looking, for any sign of a crack in the facade.

His children mean more to me now. They were always a fun part of visits. We would chase each other around the outside of his house playing hide and seek. I consider his family mine and the visit in two weeks will be a bit more emotional. I haven’t seen his wife and son and daughter in about three years, but I look forward to that time.

I don’t waste much time getting comfortable with the kids. My role is to make them laugh as much as possible in the short time I’m with them. If that doesn’t work, I’m not above buying their love with some gifts from Uncle Chuck.

But the real gift will be time spent with a dude I consider a brother. Not many get in that inner circle. I have three brothers, but it always seems that guys with close ties to their brothers always have that one friend that becomes an honorary one.

The strange thing is that we’re about 18 years apart in age. Trust me when I say that equates just as much to my immaturity as it does to his maturity. And he’s smiling at that comment right now. He likes it when I bring my “A” game to our outings. Trying to make people laugh on the fly is part of my modus oparendi – As Eminem spits, “When it’s good it’s great, but when it’s bad it’s awful.”

We are who we are. We grow roots with the people we come to love and those roots are what keep us standing in the storm.

But our shoes are what keep us running.

And this is one run to Wisconsin I’m eager to make. Whether it’s in the new Brooks or old Nikes, the real support is waiting there.

Oh, and just in case you’re not aware, I’m a pie guy and I’ve been tinkering with the perfect pie for a couple years now. Last week, and again Saturday, my wife threw some strawberries in a store pie crust, boils some gelatin and pudding together on the stove, let’s it sit for a few minutes and then dumps it over the damn berries. Twenty minutes you’ve got a perfectly congealed pie filling that looks and smells like you got it at a bakery.

Whatever….show-off. But that’s Beside the Point.

Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of the Pen City Current. He can be reached at editor@pencitycurrent.com.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: