Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meeting Florence

It is 61 degrees here today. The sun is blindingly bright. I should be on my bike but I had to go shopping.
No, really. It was a have to case of shopping. I'm beginning to look a wee bit ridiculous going out in jeans, sweater and jacket while wearing a pair of flip flops on my feet.
I'm not uncomfortable. My feet aren't cold but I've noticed the looks I receive when everyone around me is wearing boots and I'm sporting flip flops. There's a reason for my madness. Simply, my feet hurt and more specifically it's my left foot. I might be growing a bone spur in the bottom of my heel. Two surgeries back to back and I'm refusing to even consider another surgery and facing that recoup time.
I went on the hunt for a pair of walking shoes with a air bubble on the heel bottom. The flip flops I wear are thick and cushion the heel. I'm pain free and it explains the reason I continue wearing them when the temperatures are less then summer warm.

She strolled around the corner of the shoe display. She looked at me and said "If I didn't need them, there would be 4 store clerks following me around!" I nodded and smiled and continuing looking at all the colorful boxes stacked from floor to ceiling.

Tall and slim she was, snow white hair and a face deeply tanned and heavily lined, she moved to the small bench to sit down. From the shoe box she carried, she removed a pair of shoes. The frown told the story. This was not the pair of shoes she would buy. I continued browsing the wall of shoes in front of me.

Soon a sales staff walked by and Florence snagged her. We'll get to the how of me learning her name in just a few more sentences.

In less then 5 minutes, the sales clerk had answered Florence's questions and the correct pair of shoes were found causing Florence to sigh in relief.
I was curious so I questioned her about the kind of shoe she was selecting. 30 minutes later I walked out with my selection and almost a complete history on Florence. 
She was off to the library where she would be tutoring a woman from South America on the finer points of learning the English language. "After all" she said, "you can't clean pools in this weather."
 She was bilingual, having grown up in South America while living with parents. Her father worked for a major oil company and transferred around the world with his job.

 During the summer she cleaned pools explaining her deeply tanned face. Her husband was from Pittsburgh, many years past and after a recent trip back, she declared she was a "flat lander" and was happy to be back in Louisiana. During that 30 minute conversation, I marveled at the stamina and bright outlook this woman projected. Did I mention Florence must have been mid 70's at least? Spry and athletic, she rocked heel to toe when she walked. Quick and firm steps belied her age. 

Her search for shoes today resulted from a recent trip to the French Quarters where she had drank just a wee bit too much while strolling around with her friends. She fell. "Oh", she was quick to explain, "it was in the hotel not on the street." A sore heel, deeply bruised, she was particular about the kind of shoe she needed. 
Karma. I was meant to be at that shoe store. I was meant to meet Florence. When you walk away from Florence, you leave with possibilities. 


  1. I do love meeting such interesting people by chance don't you? What a character.

    Did you manage to get some shoes?

  2. Yes, I did buy a pair of shoes...and I didn't record all the wonderful things Florence shared with me..about her travels, her grndchildren, her parents...
    Very interesting woman!


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