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Shoes in the news

     Look down. Straight down. What's there? Your shoes, of course! Unless you happen to be barefoot at the moment or are wandering around in your slippers. Look again—your shoes tell a lot about you. Don't ask me what. I can't see them from here. But that guy on KPBS last night from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) said shoes tell the story so who am I to argue? I've never been on the BBC.

     The commentator started his shoe story 5,000 years ago. Wait—it was only last night. Sorry. He told about the recent discovery of a shoe believed to be 5,000 years old, but then an article on VOA said they were a little older than that: 5,500 years old. My shoes never lasted that long, although come to think of it, I haven't lived that long.

     Anyway, back to the old shoe. The BBC program was about the evolution of shoes from that day to this—all about when red shoes became the "in" thing and when men wore high heels and what the different colors of shoes mean. Men? High heels? Seems that started when stirrups became popular. Shoes with high heels stayed in the stirrup better than flat ones. So when you see your buddy in his cowboy boots with the—um, high heels—be sure to tell him, "Hey! Love your high heels!" He'll like that.

     According to Jim Tedder, VOA Special English, they found this 5,500-year-old shoe in a cave near the border between Iran and Turkey. How in the world did it last 5,500 years? It's thought the cool, dry conditions of the cave plus a thin layer of sheep dung covering it kept it from falling apart. No! You don't want to try that! The shoe, a woman's size 7 that could have been worn by a man at that time, was made from one piece of leather. Even the laces were preserved, so if you're serious about your shoes lasting a few more thousand years, maybe you could. . .um, no. I don't think so. To see a picture of the shoe, go to Jim Tedder VOA Old Shoe

     One last note about old shoes: a pair of woman's sandals found in Missouri is estimated to be 7,500 years old—again, according to Jim Tedder, VOA. The sandals were made of plant materials so for you vegans, there's hope in the shoe department.

     Look down again. How are your shoes looking? Shiny new or a bit worn? Of course that's what you bought them for, to be worn, so don't worry if the toes are a bit scuffed or the soles are wearing thin. Maybe a little sheep dung. . . No, never mind.

     Are they running shoes? They're prob'ly not ballet shoes, but maybe they're fancy shoes ready for a night out dancing or boots for line-dancing in the neighborhood bar. Do you have those reliable walking shoes, ready for the old treadmill at the gym? When I was a kid, girls had two pairs of shoes—make that three. We had white flats for spring and summer and black flats for fall and winter, and tennis shoes for gym class. That was before saddle shoes and white bucks came into style. I hope you don't remember those 'cause that would make you pretty old.

     Wedges, four-inch heels, flip-flops, sturdy suede lace-up shoes for the office, slick leather loafers—no socks, of course—sandals high or low-heeled with or without straps around the ankle. We have so many choices for shoes. What did you choose? And what does it tell about you?

     You tell me. . .

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