New pair of shoes could change it all

Published 12:08am Friday, May 17, 2013

I may wear the biggest boots in the house, but when I watch how my son embraces the world, I wonder which one of us is truly living.

Gibson may be 4 years old, but there are times when I think he may be the wisest person in the family.

Maybe it has to do with all that life heaps on our shoulders. Pressures from job, family and outside obligations coupled with worries about everything from what to get at the grocery store to the mess in Washington, D.C., make it hard to see life as anything more than a long, never-ending cycle of stress.

Life begins to resemble that of weatherman Phil Connors in the 1993 comedy “Ground Hog Day” who wakes up every morning to relive the same horrible day over and over again.

As hard as he tries, Connors can’t figure out how to break the time loop in which he is stuck. Neither hedonism, foolish pranks nor suicide keeps Connors from awakening to the sounds of Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe.”

He tried all those and more, to no avail.

If Connors asked my son what to do, Gibson would tell him to change his shoes, because a new pair of shoes has the potential to change everything, including one’s outlook on life.

I realized this when I woke to find my son furiously taking off his pajamas at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s time to get dressed,” Gibson said as he pulled off his pants.

Any other day of the week it requires a tag-team effort to get Gibson out of bed, fed and dressed for school.

Staring at my now naked son at the foot of the bed, I was confused by his sense of urgency.

It was his new pair of shoes.

Gibson must have dreamt all night about the new sneakers my mother brought to him from Michigan.

His old pair of shoes finally gave their last Monday night. When one of the shoe’s tongues came out, my wife knew it was time to bring out the box of sliver and blue shoes with orange accents my mother brought last week.

After briefly hearing the story from my wife Tuesday morning, I was surprised Gibson didn’t sleep with his shoes on his feet all night.

As soon as I could get out of bed, Gibson was putting on his school uniform. Seconds after securing the shoe’s Velcro straps, he was out the door running up and down the sidewalk, chasing after the cats.

After running the length of the block, Gibson stopped as I slowly and sleepily reached for the newspaper.

“Look Daddy. I am fast,” he said as he bolted for another lap.

I could tell that he was convinced that he could run faster and jump higher in those new shoes.

Picking up the newspaper, I looked down at my own shoes — a pair of brown boots similar to the boots I discovered on a trip to Australia. For the last eight or nine years I have been wearing the same style boot whenever I venture out to work.

I couldn’t run faster, or jump higher, but I was proud of that first pair of boots I bought. Now the has become little more than an afterthought.

As Gibson bounded the sidewalk with a big smile on his face and new spring in his step, I wondered, “Maybe it’s time for a new pair of shoes.”


Ben Hillyer is design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or