I recently became best friends with Randy at the downtown Macy's shoe repair place. I had dropped off a beloved (but destroyed) pair of heels to have them re-soled and pegged before summer weddings, and Randy offered me life advice for a solid fifteen minutes or so both at drop-off and pickup.
Not going to lie, last Friday I was in an absolutely stellar mood. I was running errands, chasing all over town and majorly getting things checked off an intimidatingly massive to-do list. Bridal shower invitations? Check. Dress to the tailor? Check. Returns and exchanges all over town? Check and check. It was sunny and warm after what felt like interminable weeks of rain, and I loved being out and about. I think that good mood carried over into the basement shoe repair place at Macy's...who knows? I chatted with Randy happily without even thinking about the remaining five items on my to-do list.
I carry a red purse, a gift from my mom on my birthday this year, and for some reason that made Randy's day. He reached across the counter, grabbed both my hands in his, and said "It's an old piece of advice for true elegance that's fallen by the wayside...every truly fascinating woman should have a red purse, and a pair of red shoes. You're halfway there, my dear!" The twinkle in his eye was almost Santa-like in its beneficence...as if he had taught me the secret of life. I laughed, admitted that I do in fact own a pair of red heels, and you'd think I had given him some kind of gift.
He continued: "I bet that's something your grandmother taught you, isn't it?"...and a tiny shiver ran up my back. As I've mentioned here a few times, my Grandma Lo was the epitome of what I have always thought of as elegance. Much more than simply matching her shoes to her bag, or wearing the right lipstick or perfume, her general grace and mostly-sunny outlook on life permeated everything around her in a way that imbued the whole world with a little extra sparkle. I told Randy that, and he smiled.
"You, my dear, have it figured out. If you can smile like that through the years of cardboard shoes and synthetic leather, you'll find yourself feeling like diamonds and champagne even on the worst of days."
And I couldn't help but smile, on that day that did feel so very diamonds-and-champagne good. Here's to red bags and red shoes and Randy, friends.