It may have started when I watched The Wizard of Oz as a young child. Dorothy's glittery ruby slippers may have made an indelible impression on my five year old heart. Or perhaps it's because I have a beautiful Aunt Artful, with incredible red hair and matching artful and passionate personality. Dorothy and Aunt Artful definitely had something I liked and still do. I like red. I like red hair and red shoes. Most all red hair, but not all red shoes. Over the years, I've procured many little girl red tennis shoes for my Pooh Bear. My four year old princess only dons her favorite sequined pink slip-ons these last summer days which prevent her from wearing the red Keds I always have at the ready in all sizes for her tiny feet. Back when she could not express her definite opinions, I'd gussy her up in one of her thousand gorgeous famous label hand-me-downs dresses, a matching pair of socks, and carefully tie on the appropriate sized red tennies. It never mattered to me if red seemed to clash with the colors and patterns of her dress. To me, she embodied my idea of complete babyhood perfection- ready for an adventure wherever her itty-bitty scarlet feet would take her. Now, I've lined Pooh Bear's room with a tribute down one strip of her bedroom wall with these sneakers from infancy to now. I've noticed other mother's keep a more conventional growth chart instead.
I personally believe the fairies, who live in my Peter Rabbit garden, wear red sneakers, but I have never been able to prove it.
I bought a pair of red Keds from ebay for myself when this obsession with Pooh Bear's footwear began. They offer no arch or other support and look rather like a boy's boat toy attached to my long feet. So, I began a search for the Holy Grail of shoes, comfortable red clogs. My husband and Helen even joined the hunt over the years to present me with the perfect Christmas present. But none of us could find the ruby slipper clogs of my dreams. That is until Helen and I visited Solvang, CA- the dutch clog and other things Dutch capital of the United States. While wine tasting and souvenir shopping, we happened upon a little shoe shop with a giant wooden red clog statue by the front door. I caught my breath at this beautiful sight. Perhaps this was my Oz. We scoured the hundreds of clogs- blue, green, flowered, suede, leather, rubber, sequined, wooden. I nixed nearly every red pair for lack of luster or comfort until Helen picked up a pair and stated, "I think I actually LIKE these red clogs." I think she may have meant "I could possibly tolerate this particular footwear on my dorky, obsessive compulsive friend's feet." Pretty? Check. Red? Check. Comfortable? Let's try 'em on. "What do you mean you don't have a 9 Medium Modesto Red Softwalk clog? It's all I've ever wanted!" I growl at the saleslady. Helen wisely grabs me by the hands and says, "Take a deep breath. Perhaps we can order them." Yes, maybe the saleslady will be able to return home in the evening with her hair AND her eyeballs after all. Helen orders them for me and I count down the days UPS will deliver the blessed shoes to my doorstep. No such luck. The Softwalk company has discontinued the Modesto mule in red. You'll see in any old google search this shoe continues to come in a variety of gorgeous colors such as aruba, forest green nubuck, pacific blue, steel, amber, and aloe. However, red is OUT. Buck and Helen endeavor to comfort the inconsolable me with complicated searches over the internet. "Wouldn't these Bass clogs work?" Helen timidly asks in attempts to ease my suffering. She and Buck find the mythical 9 M Softwalk Modesto Red Mule with egg crate soles, only to have the company confirm in email the shoes are discontinued a few days later. Saturday, I call the Zappo.com company who say they have one pair of my size in close-out stock in their Kentucky warehouse. "I'll believe it when they are on my feet" I mutter into the phone. "You will" she assures me. THE sacred shoes arrived by free express shipping on Wednesday. It took all my self restraint not to kiss the UPS man (and Buck was watching). I put them on my feet as many times a day as I think of it, close my eyes tightly, and whisper, "There's not place like home."
Did you know the real Wizard of Oz ruby red slippers have been stolen and cannot appear at the Kansas festival this year? They will have the blue gingham dress and the witch's hat, and five of the original munchkins including the coroner, so you don't want to miss it. And a special note to the villainous thief who stole the ruby slippers, "Touch my new mules, and I'll get you my pretty. And your little dog too!"