Fall hits like a splattering pumpkin in Minnesota. One fine morning, warm summer arms embrace you. The next, you’re slapped by sleet, biting winds and millions of dirty leaves. If you try to look up, you might see a sky more thick and gray than your Grandpa’s storm coat.
You can run—away—but you usually don’t. Snowbirds do, but they’re either lucky ducks or lucky retirees. The rest of us have bills to pay, kids to chauffeur, and chores to chase. Soon, we can add shoveling sh-now and driving on icy freeways to the dark-season grind.
Enter: These old shoes. I bought them in 1994 while away for a whole year of travel, during an idyllic four-month stay in Tuscany. They were purchased, despite a no-new-stuff-to-schlep pledge, to serve as “slippers” to protect me from our casa’s cold marble floors.
Exit: These old shoes. Some folks do spring cleaning; I’m working on an Epic Fall Purge. Possessions have grown like a fungus in my family’s world, and the piles are getting toxic. It’s like wearing a backpack that may bury you. That freewheeling, light feeling of travel has been lost in piles of clothes, toys, media, and much more.
So anything—everything?—is on the purging block. Eliminating stuff can seem like throwing out memories: kids’ clothes and art and books and childhood playthings bring back countless once-in-a-lifetime memories. But sometimes, there’s just not enough room.
That goes, too, for these old shoes. They’ve lived in the sauna for the last few years—ready for that mad dash outside onto snow and ice and maybe even into the lake. But now they’re in the trashcan.
They’ve had a good life, and walked into as many memories as a shoe can. It’s funny—sometimes silly things like shoes become a favorite souvenir, while the high-design Italian flatware set left the building years ago.
But it’s time to move on. I hope the memories will live on without these old shoes.