A few years ago, I was at lunch with my parents in D.C.
To get the full effect of this story, you need a little description of my mother. She is, as I think I've mentioned here, an Episcopal priest. She's a "better safe than sorry" type. She plans, carefully. She dresses modestly. Her personal style and mode of dress could best be described as "conservative." She's not a big makeup-wearer, aside from occasional very neutral lipstick "to look like she gives a damn," as my sister would say. Unless she is actually at the gym (or sometimes in the garden, but only sometimes), she wears skirts — to about mid-calf. She likes boiled-wool jackets. That's the kind of dresser my mother is.
Anyway, a few years ago, I was at lunch with my parents in D.C.
And mid-sentence, my mother just broke off, distracted. At the next table was a young family, with two little girls, probably about 2 and 4 years old. And my mother was staring, infatuated, at the older girl, who was wearing bright red, sparkly, glittery red shoes.
"Oh," whispered my boiled-wool-jacket-wearing mother, breathlessly. "Everyone should have shoes like that."
I have remembered it since, and periodically think about buying her a pair, though I don't think she'd wear them.
But a few days ago, I saw a pair of much subtler red shoes in my size for practically no money at one of my favorite stores. They're burgundy, really, and totally work-appropriate, but a far cry from the blacks and browns that make up the whole rest of my shoe wardrobe. And I will think of that lunch every time I wear them.
Day 12 of my month of gratitude: I am thankful for wonder where you least expect it, and for red shoes.