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TideWriters Tales
Happiness Is Fun Shoes
By Emeline Wood Bailey

     I'm now not about annoying oil prices, the IRS, nor CEO salaries, but about shoes, earrings and romance. And where, you may ask, did I buy the wildly gorgeous shoes that were the most envied frou-frou worn by any of the voluptuous models (skinny is out) or the seriously senile hottie spectators at a recent fashion show at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia? I'm talking here about a big time fashion extravaganza with live music, a champagne lunch, orchids and everything. If you really must know, but remember that your Momma tole' you that it's not nice to inquire about where somebody bought something and what it cost them, I will, nevertheless, help you out and assuage your raging curiosity: they came from Neiman Marcus, of course, at a cost of $495. Well, maybe not Neiman Marcus. More like an outlet in Williamsburg, and marked down fifty percent.

     Wait 'til I describe these babies to you. You're gonna' die of suppressed covetness, craving, desire, hankering, longing and mad yearning (thanks, Mr. Thesaurus): low cut d'Orsay pumps made of brocade or something, with long pointed toes, precious little kitten heels, gigantic hunks of red glass on top with spangles and things all over them. My happy heart sang when I put them on; I haven't taken them off until after the Craig Ferguson Late, Late Shows on TV every night since. So what's my problem? My husband won't let me sleep in them.

     According to the mini-book, "Feng Shoe," feet must be shod with proper karma for one to be a winner in life and in the matrimonial sweepstakes. After twelve years of widowhood, I apparently was wearing the correct killer shoes when I met my future husband. Rick and I were married in April, 2000, in the church on Jamestowne Island where Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.

     Our wedding was the most romantic ceremony performed there between the years 1614 and 2000. At that time, I owned an untold number of adorable high- heeled pumps, boots, sandals and, yes, even two pairs of orthopedic-looking athletic clodhoppers that are still in pristine condition in their Original Boxes, the owner thereof having refrained since the waning years of the last century from wearing them for even a stroll to the mailbox. Since our wedding, Rick has gently encouraged me to buy low, wide heeled shoes, explaining that it'd be wiser to be fashionably miserable in masculine-looking heels than to look jazzy, feminine and cool in stilettos and fall flat on my face and break some significant bones, ending up in a full body cast.

     I've gone along with his suggestion, knowing that it was made with lots of love, is, actually, a reasonable idea, and (how I hate to admit this), I've rather enjoyed running around town in comfortable, albeit tacky clunkers. Almost all my high heels went out the door in plastic bags. I did keep three pairs, i.e., my lovely wedding shoes, a pale golden pair with zebra bows that my friend Rhea and I bought just alike and when we got home discovered I had hers and she had mine, and a pair of dark green sandals ornamented with brass studs that look smashing with green jeans and a sweater from Victoria's Secret. Well, I just hope some lovely gals somewhere are enjoying looking terrific in the still fashionable shoes I gave away.

     My love of playing dress-up, honed as a little girl but dormant for several years, was resurrected when I spied THE SHOES and started restocking my depleted fun shoe inventory. Inasmuch as I couldn't make up my fool mind which pair I preferred that day, I was forced to buy a second pair covered in sequins, and stuff, resulting in my shedding sequins, and stuff, wherever I go. The fashions this year really tear me up, looking SO cute on the young ladies who are covering up their belly buttons and other areas of their anatomies not needing identification here

     I've Decided to buy as many darling outfits as possible and accessorize them with big gold hoop earrings or tres chic dangley ones. For some reason now unknown to me, I resolved at age eighty that one must appear circumspect and great- grandmotherly by not wearing pierced earrings and lots of beads and loud colors and too much blush. What one should strive for, I thought, was the appearance of gentle wisdom and readiness to give good advice, the aura surrounding our ex-Supreme, Sandra O'Connor.

     But didn't work out that way. In fact, nobody even asked me for advice on how to get to Merchants Square. So I changed my resolve. Yet, I afraid that the holes pierced in my ear lobes, which atrocity was committed circa 1978 in a cheap jewelry store in a Newport News strip mall, would grow back together and I'd have to get them redone, a procedure I didn't consider a possibility, being violently opposed to inflicting pain of any kind on my person. But I was wrong (mark the calendar). I'm actually still able to insert earrings into those little bitty apertures and am now happily wearing DANGLEY EARRINGS and HEARING AIDS simultaneously

     Sidebar: My sweetheart takes care of installing new batteries in my beloved hearing aids, a task that requires the digital steadiness and dexterity (and acute eyesight) needed in disarming a nuclear warhead. That process is as difficult for me as placing a phone call to Loretta, my Favorite Beauty Operator, for an emergency color job (which procedure would set you back $300 in Georgetown, and aren't we glad we live in Williamsburg?), on a gadget with the numbers all crammed together. We've had this thingy six months, so it's probably obsolete by now.

     Wish I had a fingernail sharpened to a one-inch long point to avoid hitting three numbers at once. Girls, by all means buy the most outrageous shoes you can find for that next visit to your favorite coffeehouse for an Extra Large Iced Mocha with Whipped (that's the way we say it in Billyburg). You can sit in an outdoor cafe with your ankles crossed, assured that every passerby will catch a glimpse of your mad, purple satin ankle strap sandals. Elegant, extravagant and impractical though they may be, (darling, of course you can wear them in a snowstorm, no question) nevertheless, they're a superb investment that will put a smile on your face when you see all the drop-dead-with- envy female glances coming your way. Trust me. Guys will probably think you're nuts. Pictures on request.

© 2006 Emeline Wood Bailey All Rights Reserved Originally Published by Virginia Gazette June 7, 2006

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