My children's grandma Rose had a shoe closet that would have put Imelda Marcos' collection to shame. Her feet were size four and a half extra wide leaving room for her rather large, often sore bunyons. I usually saw her wearing the same, brown laced pair of sensible footwear, around the house. When going out, however, she suffered the pain and proudly donned the high heels which elevated her to a full five feet tall.
Any time we passed shoes for sale, Rose would stop and look. Then, if there happened to be something in her size, anything at all, she'd make the purchase, thus adding to her vast stockpile.
I have a vivid memory of a trip to Las Vegas back in the 70's. We happened on a little strip mall which contained penny slots, Vegas showgirl gear, a Frederick's of Hollywood, and a shoe store. I was young, attractive enough and "with it" when it came to style, fashion and footwear. I became particularly enamoured with a pair of strappy beige wooden platform heels I saw in the shoe store window. Being certain that I could easily get them in size 8, I confidently entered the shop.
"I'd like those too," Rose announced to my surprise and followed me through the door.
An eager middle aged salesman came to help us. We told him of our desire for the pair of shoes in the window. He gazed down at our feet, back and forth. Then he looked up and shook his head. I began to feel sorry for Rose as I was certain that her wish could not be granted.
The clerk then announced confidently, "You, I can fit easily," and staring directly at me, he said, "You? With those enormous feet...I think you should probably just wear the shoe boxes."
As he left for the back room, I was in shock. Was he kidding ? My mind was racing. Did I just hear the salesman insult me and suggest that I had unusually large feet? What a nerve!
After a few minutes, he returned with two boxes...one size 4.5 and one size 8. We each tried on the shoes. Perfect fit. We were overjoyed. As we paid and proudly wore our new acquisitions out of the store, I realized what had just happened.
It was a wise and clever salesman indeed. Instead of just bringing out the shoes, he managed to boost Rose's confidence and make an older woman happy. My ego on the other hand, as a twenty something was inflated enough to withstand his jab.
Robert Brault said it well in this quote, "Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of
what is kind than I am of what is true."