5/10/08

Sentimentality [Ode To A Flip-Flop]


Some people have memories tucked away in letters, tied together with old ribbons and layered with dried rose petals and whispers of times past. Some people have photo albums full of glossy prints of happy times shared with loved ones.

I have a beat-up old pair of flip-flops.

At least four years old, slightly too big, and an indeterminable shade of navy blue [ish], they were purchased for a whopping $2.50 at an Old Navy located somewhere in the southern US. I'm not going to lie - I was a little bit snobbish about the whole 'cheap flip-flop' thing, so I bought them only to be worn as grubby work shoes.

But at some point, they flip-flopped into my heart and became a staple wardrobe item. Don't judge me. I rock the 'flops.

This particular pair should surely hold a world title. When I lived in Texas, I wore them to college classes, while traveling, while shopping, to church work days, to church events, on trips... I'm sure you've begun to note the ever-occurring trend here.

Enter good-natured [I hope!] teasing - my flip-flops appeared so often that people took note.

Then the news came that I'd be moving to Florida. The flips were a little shabby now [The 'Old Navy' stamp had become 'L Na y'] and I figured I probably wouldn't even use them. New People would not be seeing me wearing grubby 'flops - my momma raised me better!

Still, they held so many memories and were so stinking useful, I couldn't part with them. Never mind that I had a huge cardboard box brimming with cute flip-flops to match my every outfit - I needed these. So they went to Florida.

In Florida, I tried to keep them designated as beach shoes, but that didn't last long. I pulled them out for errands, for hanging out with friends, for the pool, for the beach, for the mall, and various and sundry other events. Roommates and friends began to notice how attached I was to them - and had to try them out for themselves!

When I learned that I would be leaving Florida, I knew it was time to downsize. I was packing my entire life into a storage unit, taking only the clothes I would need. By now, the 'flops were grubby at their very best. My box of cute flip-flops overflowed with all the colors of the rainbow, beckoning me to make the only feminine decision and take them with me.

Instead of doing that [because it'd be too much to carry, I reasoned] I left the whole box and took my worn and definitely worse-for-the-wear flip-flops. Because, you know, I might need them in the winter in Ohio.

I wore them today. When I look at them, I smile at the memories I've made in them. I can point out the tiny hole in the sole where a stick poked through it at the beach, or the uneven edge on the right 'flop caused by an incident with a parking lot curb that we won't discuss. The ding in the left 'flop is from dropping a metal box on it at Boot Camp. The foot marks imprinted into them aren't exactly fit to my foot anymore because they've been borrowed by so many friends.

They may be just an old pair of 'flops, but to me, they're so much more. I can't say when I'll be packing up and moving on again, but I can assure you that my trusty old 'flops are going with me wherever I go. They hold memories worth far more than $2.50; it's four years worth of loving, learning, laughing, crying, rejoicing, mourning, and living that I will treasure forever.

So what do you hang onto?

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[the alohilana blog] by R. Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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