My late-husband, Taylor, was a rancher who worked outside almost everyday performing manual labor of some sort depending on the season and the chores to be done. His footwear of choice was whatever pair of square toe boots were stocked at the local feed store whenever he was in need of a new pair, which was often. I was always amazed at how quickly he would wear out a pair and, I think, even took some pride in those visible signs of his hard work. When necessary, Taylor would wear a pair of nice dress boots or loafers, but not without complaint, and didn’t see the need to take up closet space with any other type of shoe.
Taylor did not have much of a need for tennis shoes beyond his days of college intramural basketball and they were an item he could never keep up with when he did wear them. I must digress for a moment because I know Taylor would like me to take this opportunity to interject that senior year his intramural basketball team, “The White Legs,” composed of his ranch management classmates that never went in the sun without jeans on, won the Texas Christian University Intramural championship that year. Also not one to replace workout clothes, he played in t-shirts and what I would assume were the same shorts and tennis shoes he’d had since high school.
Not long before we married, we went to Ruidoso for the wedding of our dear friends. We made the drive from Roswell and were going over the weekend plan when Taylor remembered that he was golfing with the other groomsmen the next day and didn’t have anything to wear. We made a detour to the local Walmart and picked up the one pair of shoes they had in his size that would work on the golf course that weekend. They were the ugliest pair of white men’s tennis shoes. We laughed about the “dad shoes” he was going to sport the next day, but I wasn’t laughing when he thought they were really comfortable and would choose to wear them whenever he wasn’t working. I bought him several pairs of better looking tennis shoes throughout the years, but they would never last more than a couple months. Taylor and I would go somewhere for the weekend or he would take a hunting trip and the more stylish pairs would never make it home as my husband wasn’t used to packing tennis shoes in his bag.
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”1 Peter 3:8
Somehow he never forgot those white ones. Eventually they weren’t even white anymore. They became splattered with a terracotta concrete stain we used on the front porch patio of our first home–they survived the moving purge and made it to the new house. Over the last three years since Taylor passed, I have slowly cleaned out and gotten rid of things, but those ugly white tennis shoes still have a place in our once shared closet. I was recently talking with a group of other young widowed people and, without telling their stories, it turns out we all had some item that belonged to our loved one that we hated them wearing or using, but now that they were gone we just couldn’t part with. We all shared these sweet memories and questionable wardrobe choices through a lot of tears and laughter.
If there’s one benefit of being a widow, it’s that I don’t have to pick up after another adult these days. This might have something to do with the fact that I have an especially low tolerance when it comes to cleaning up after my male coworkers or family members (sorry, guys). But trust me, you will miss the dirty clothes left on the floor and having to wipe someone else’s toothpaste from the sink when they are no longer here to leave the mess. You will miss shaking your head at their outfit choices. You will miss all the things you struggled to be sympathetic, compassionate and humble toward. 1 Peter 3:8 instructs us to be of one mind. This seems like an impossible request these days, but we can trust that God’s instructions are always for our benefit and we are more than capable of finding a like-minded harmony and loving one another.
Copyright © 2023, M. Marley, LLC
11 thoughts on “Personal Belongings”
Love you and love this!! and ohhh those shoes…they were prrreeettttyyyyyy bad but always made me LOL.
Taylor said he’d leave the Old work spot boots at the feed store. Never went for new boots until the old ones had nothing left on them. Not sure I believed the entire story, but I understood the message.
Definitely true story. Except for the pairs he would cut the upper part off and turn into “boot shoes” he could slip on to water the lawn or make a quick grocery run.
On target yet again! There is such memory in those odd things or maybe they show more personality. We love “it” and “them” all the more!
Great memories and I love hearing how we all have something or it it’s an item we no longer have, something we remember fondly.
Got me teared up. Big hug, mama.
Hopefully happy tears! Thank you for the support.
Such a mindful approach to how we show love and grace to those we love so dearly. I can visualize similar stories with my beloved Mike. You remind me to hold them close as we aren’t guaranteed beyond the minutes we’re in at that moment.
Uncle Mike says hello!
Hello to Uncle Mike and the whole family from us!! I always need a reminder to show grace and love others for who they are and where they are. Very true that we are not guaranteed anything and to treasure it all while we can.
Great story about Taylor and oh so true! Love you!
Molly, I love reading your stories and thoughts and catching glimpses into your life, love and family. What a gift you have and what a grace that you share it with us. Thank you…you are so dear and although I never met Taylor here on earth, I look forward to meeting him in heaven. I wonder what kind of shoes he will be wearing?!