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It's About the Soul And...


...perhaps the soles of our shoes. My father-in-law used to say the feet are what soldiers depend on, as we do food. He said that to me in 1985 as I stood in his home office. 

My husband, Norman was a shoe guy. And it was all about the soles on the shoes. 

For me, the way I have stayed on my feet was soul deep. Sometimes praying every step of the way, to not fall over out of exhaustion. The approximately 170,000 miles of running, many of which Norman had witnessed or known of. He wondered how I stayed standing working on my feet all day. Only to come home, and go for a second run at midnight at times. 

Often Norman would give me a lecture on good shoe care. It was about the soles of the shoes. He'd point out stitching on a shoe that was done wrong. Therefore commenting, " a shoe less time of wear on this earth." 

He'd remark quite often. "You have to buy good quality shoes." I have to say, there was absolutely something comedic about his shoe observations.

I was the opposite about my footwear. I would naturally wear my running, hiking and work shoes till they had holes in the bottom and or top. There's a reason for that. We came from opposite sides of the track. I came from not much. I feared wasting anything. Norman would shake his head and nearly scold me for not buying myself a new pair of work shoes or running shoes in a timely fashion.  

I remember one time he called out, "I'm online! You need running shoes?!"

I hollered back up, "Yeah!" In an Eeyore sort of 'oh well' attitude. I hated to spend money on myself. I could manage without much, I knew.

He called back, "I'm getting you new socks too! You need them!" 

Then secretly, one time he bought me a running jacket. Something I would not buy for myself. Something I could and have won in a couple races. Only to wear them for twenty to thirty-six years with holes in the sleeves, zipper half broken, strings hanging from the tears. I still have the ones from a 1985 fifteen kilometer race. It's Gortex Baby! And the one from a 2002 Ultra race.

Now up to speed for my thoughts for over the past year, months, weeks and days before today's unveiling ceremony for my now deceased husband's footstone. 

I wondered what would transpire. Would Norman send me more hopeful messages on this day? I pondered thoughts. I do believe in spirit. I do believe there is something, just something beyond, and deep that lasts from one soul to the next. And from one life to the next.  

This morning, I uncharacteristically stood in the shower and whispered outloud a prayer, "So really I need something. Do you think this could happen for us on your birthday?" Then I prayed. At the end, shutting the shower off, "Just a thought Norm. Just could you, like work some kind of... Oh, I don't know good miracle. I mean it's not the end of the world. But it'd be nice. Okay. Well thanks ahead anyway."

Just a few hours later I and our two daughters arrived at graveside where Norman's footstone resides. And a moment or two later five relatives arrive. Then it amounted to near thirty of us graveside.

Attempting introductions, I walked in the ninety plus degree temperature air on the pavement with blue skies abound. The shoes I've worn every two years for the past oh thirty years or so... all of a sudden the right bottom sole peeled off cleanly. There was still leather on the bottom. The shoes still looked relatively unworn. You couldn't tell, if I hadn't told you that I'd just lost the entire sole of my right shoe. 

Then a few minutes later, traversing back to another set of people, the entire sole of the left shoe also came off cleanly. 

My soul spoke silently to my mind, 'Norman that was you. Right Honey? You are here. See, I knew you knew.' I turned to my niece and a couple others, "Well, I think that's a good sign..." As I tossed the two shoe soles on the rear floor behind the driver's seat of the car I drove. I drove Norman's car, like he could enjoy seeing it. 

I know this all sounds so silly to some. But I've experienced enough to know that the seemingly intangible is touchable. And yes, there are miracles too.---Jody-Lynn Reicher 


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