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The Boat Shoes Adventure

boat-shoes-2I guess this is the story about the first disappointment of my life, or the first one I can remember. I’m sure there were others before, like the times I wanted the orange colored mush spooned into my mouth when I instead got the green colored mush, that type of thing.

But I’m talking about the first crushing disappointment that makes you realize that maybe there is more to life than the big people trying to make you laugh and smile all the time. That there are things that are going to happen that leave a horrible, acid taste in your mouth.

Please don’t judge me on the fact that it revolves around boat shoes. Is anyone’s first gut wrenching disappointment about anything more profound?  I doubt it.

I was eavesdropping.  I shouldn’t have been, and how many times do bad things happen when we are doing things we shouldn’t be doing?  Like finding things in that drawer that was absolutely forbidden, or gleaning information from those snatched conversations coming from the other side of bolted doors, etc.

I had a good reason to be listening that day to the conversation between my Mom and Uncle Pete. He wasn’t really my uncle, he was my Mom’s new special friend, and he would be the source of a whole new set of disappointments not long after the boat shoes episode, but that, as they say, is another story.

Over the past week he had started to talk loudly when speaking to Mom.  Like the way he had talked to me the time I colored the ‘important’ papers I found in his bag, and when I used his tie to clean my new bike. But this particular time he wasn’t talking loud, he was just talking normally, and he said he was going into town to buy some boat shoes.

Boat shoes?!  My heart jumped, my mind raced. I had no idea what boat shoes were, but to my five year old mind they sounded like the most amazing thing in the world.

Imagine…shoes that turned into boats, or maybe they were boats you could wear on your feet. Either way, I couldn’t wait to see them!

Behind that closed kitchen door Uncle Pete suddenly became the most exciting person I had ever met. The adventurers in the books Mom read to me would be nothing compared to this.

I started to think of all the places we could go. I wasn’t entirely sure if boat shoes were something we would all have to wear or if Uncle Pete would strap them on and we’d all cling to him.  But one thing I knew for sure was that wherever we went in those shoes, it had to be better than Malcolm Brewster’s birthday party was with that funny smelling clown.

I imagined us going to all of the places Mom read to me about in books. Maybe we’d meet pirates – but only the nice ones – not Blackbeard, the nasty one. We’d be able to go anywhere we wanted in Uncle Pete’s boat shoes. Pretty funny, huh? Yeah, looking back now, I don’t even remember Uncle Pete ever coming home that day. And I never saw his boat shoes.  I only remember that for the final few weeks that he was around after that day, both he and Mom were always speaking loudly.  I also remember that Malcolm Brewster moved away before his sixth birthday party.

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