Yeah, probably not what you expected to see. Two left feet. The one on the right is mine.
These shoes bring back memories. They say memories involving scents are the strongest. Boy, were these sure the stinkiest shoes I’ve ever worn. Clear a room stinky.
Why am I talking about kids’ shoes?
Because my dear friend, the left shoe on the left, is getting married at the end of this month. And it’s the clearest memory I have of being there when a friend first met the one.
Summer of 2009. We arrived at a camp to work. Neither of us had extensive outdoor experience, but we’d both cut our teeth in the woods and lakes of Minnesota so we figured we’d be set. We were sorta in for a surprise. The first week of camp was training. Lots of training. We were apprehensive about the fact that we’d soon be on our own with real live campers and we’d be in charge of boats, cabins, animals, etc.
Though we’d geared up for a summer up north with old tees and shorts, we were told our fun flip flops wouldn’t cut it because more than likely, our toes would get cut off running through the woods. So, we drove into town one night to the local sporting goods store to find us some close-toed sandals.
Alas, that is where my friend’s love story began. We both had our eyes set on Keens. Because another girl we were training in with at camp had them. She told us to get them in the kids’ sizes and that we could find them at the sporting goods store. Our minds were made up and we staked out our shoes. I found mine just fine – the right size and all. I picked green because after blue it is my favorite color. My friend/cabinmate/roommate struggled to find the perfect size. She needed them a titch bigger and the store didn’t carry them.
Enter her future fiance, soon to be husband. He worked in the shoe department. Actually, no, I think he was filling in…But anyway, he was there and helped us with our shoes. He offered to call another store location. In Grand Forks. Or was it Fargo? Is there a difference? I patiently waited for my friend to relay her information to him so he could tell the lady in No Dak what he was looking for. It took a long time. We chatted on and off with the guy about our excitement over the Keens and our summer plans. We asked him where we should eat and he offered up KFC and Perkins. Winners. Finally, after what seemed like hours, my friend had her shoes ordered and a slip of paper telling her when they’d arrive. We left the store and headed toward Perkins. Yep.
In the car, she immediately said, “He was cute!” Since we’d only talked to one person on our shoe shopping excursion, I knew she was referring to the shoe boy. We went back and forth over if she should go back there sometime and try to see him again. Then she got super excited and said, “I should go back there now and give him my number.” I was a bit taken aback by her swiftness over this boy, but humored her and turned the car back into the parking lot. I waited while she ran inside.
It seemed to take her a long time. Maybe because I couldn’t be there to see the exchange. She came out. Grinning.
“Well? Was he there? What happened? What did he say?”
She smiled even wider and spilled the whole story.
“Well, I went in and at first I didn’t see him and then he saw me and was like smiling all big and said, ‘You’re back!’ which kinda threw me off. But it was because he forgot to get some info for the shoe order. He was like, ‘I didn’t know how to get a hold of you to get the rest of the information, so it’s good that you’re back.’ Then I just said, ‘Oh’ and gave him my information and then said, ‘I actually came back to give you my number…'”
“And he said ‘Oh, thanks.'”
By this time we were at Perkins, waiting to be seated. We laughed multiple times throughout the night. She was convinced he’d never call. I was convinced he would. We promptly code-named him “[Name of sporting goods store] Boy.” His name stuck.
A few weeks after their first meeting, he came to our camp and signed up for a big fishing tournament. I made my friend go talk to him. Once so forward, she was a bit shy, again convinced he wouldn’t remember her. He did. Naturally. And they fished together in the tournament. Well, he was in his own boat and she was in the boat of a world famous angler….she fell inside his boat and somehow bruised the bottom of her foot. But she did hang out with “[Name of sporting goods store] Boy” before and after the fishing for fish occurred.
And that was the beginning of forever for my friend and “Name of sporting goods store] Boy.”
They dated. Got engaged. And will be Husband and Wife at the end of May. Almost 4 years after a pair of kids’ Keens changed their lives.
Moral of the story: Go buy shoes.