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Despite This We Stay for July 31, 2014

No shoe store

 HUERFANO — Many thanks to everyone who submitted an idea for a column during Art in the Park in July. The winning idea was submitted by Alice Major of Walsenburg. Alice and I both have a big problem with Huerfano: THERE’S NO SHOE STORE. This place is hard on shoes. Next time you’re in the grocery store, take a look around at other people’s shoes. They’re dusty; they’re scuffed; most have some kind of dried animal feces on them. A fair number of us could use some new shoes. Well, if you live in Denver, or even Colorado Springs – ok, even Pueblo – you have access to about a thousand shoe stores. Not so in Huerfano. Oh sure, you can go down to one of the local stores that happen to sell a few shoes, but you’ll generally find size 1 or size 12, hundreds of flips, all of which look identical, and a number of hideous creations that were made in some obscure country you’ve never heard of with materials that you’re not sure you’ve seen the likes of before. Friends and neighbors, this is not shoe shopping. Shoe shopping is done at a shoe store. That’s a store that specializes in the spice of life – really cool or comfy things you wear on your feet that look different than the ones other people are wearing – shoes of multiple styles and multiple sizes, and different kinds of shoes at different times of the year. When you walk into a shoe store, you just see a whole bunch of shoes. You don’t see chocolate cupcakes or double-A batteries or rolls of paper towels. And even though a shoe store will

sometimes sell socks, really the only people who buy those are desperate for a present for their grandkid’s birthday party. In a shoe store, there are thousands of pairs of shoes for women, who are really the only type of person that cares what their shoes look like, and then there are maybe three or four styles for men too. Which is plenty, because those of us who have partners who wear shoes know how that goes. You walk into any store – it could even be a pet store – and included on your shopping list for the day is “shoes for husband.” The husband promptly locates a bunch of shoes in a giant bin, grabs a pair, checks the size, tries them on (maybe), and tosses them in the cart. It takes all of seven seconds. Women, on the other hand, don’t just desire to shop in a shoe store. They have a genetically hard-wired need to go to a shoe store. This is a buying decision that, by rights, should feature a glass-walled showroom like they have for selling new cars. Because, face it, buying a pair of shoes is infinitely more important and requires far more thought and planning than buying a car. A woman will walk up and down the rows of shoes, admiring or making faces at the different styles. She will choose about fifteen pairs in her size plus a few spares in a half-size up and a half-size down. Then she will start trying on the shoes, during which time she is not to be interrupted. She will again walk up and down the aisles modeling each pair, deciding whether her feet look good. If she asks you how they look, you’d better say, “Good!” And whatever you do, do NOT say, “You already have two pairs of black shoes.” You don’t want to go there. Ignoring what you say anyway, she will stand in front of one of those little floor mirrors and observe the shoes from the front, then each side, and finally from the back. She then decides whether or not her ankles will bear up under the pressure of wearing a four-inch heel. It’s this way for each pair of shoes. And it’s the right way to shop for shoes. Since we don’t have a shoe store in Huerfano, I buy shoes when we are traveling. Some people get key chains or t-shirts on vacation; I might buy a lovely pair of pink pumps or a pair of sequin-covered sandals as a souvenir. Yes, a shoe store is what we need in Huerfano to make life a little more bearable. Is that too much to ask?