Sunday, April 2, 2017


I'm a morning person, an early riser, up before the chickens, as they say. Maybe there's a second Richard somewhere inside my brain that wants to be a farmer...I'm not sure. I don't know about the cow milking thing, but I could envision the sun coming up over the fields with a rooster crowing. At any rate, one of the first things I do every morning, at least in the colder months, is to slip my feet into this pair of brown corduroy slippers, or as my folks used to call them "house shoes." Once I do that, I feel that the day can officially begin.

If memory serves me correctly, my corduroy slippers with plaid flannel lining were given to me as a Christmas present sometime back in the 90's. I depend on them being in my closet, except for summer months, when they work their way to the back shelf until the advent of chilly weather. I have a morning ritual: the shoes go on, our greyhound Ava and I walk downstairs so that I can let her out while my wife Karen and our older dog Payday snooze. If it's a workday, I make coffee, switch on Good Morning America, grab breakfast, play a game or two (sometimes more) of Words With Friends, then get moving. On weekends, I make even more coffee, play on my phone or read my latest book, then head out walking or whatever. It's all very predictable and comfortable.

I've owned numerous pairs of slippers over the years, but for some reason, these have stuck with me. I may have owned five cars in the same period of time that I've had these shoes, but in all that time, these well-worn troopers haven't cost me a penny. I cannot count how many times they've trundled through the back yard trying to retrieve dog toys, or more often than not, a dog who is wandering aimlessly when I have to be somewhere. The bottoms of the slippers are made of some kind of synthetic material which retains water for a short time, although I did not realize this until recently, when I noticed that the almost brand new carpet was wet owing to my hasty retreat from the back yard to the living room after a rainstorm. They're extremely durable; I can throw them into the washer and dryer with no real concern for wash temperature or drying duration, and when I take them out, they still fit perfectly.

These shoes have seen so much action. They've been with me when I've been recovering from illnesses, when nothing has seemed to make me comfortable other than being wrapped up in a blanket with the TV on. I've slipped into them when I've had to get out of bed at night because I could not sleep. I've gotten both good news and bad news in them, and through it all, they've stuck with me like the most trusted friends you can imagine.

I don't mind that my corduroy slippers are wearing a bit, because let's face it: we all get older and a little frayed around the edges. They're not particularly fashionable, but that doesn't really matter, because I'm not always runway ready myself. I wear them with gray pajama pants sometimes, but no one is looking, so I think that's all right.

I'm not kidding myself: I know that one day, these poor slippers will give up the ghost, and I'll have to go in search of a replacement pair, but honestly, I hope that's a long way off, because to me, they're just perfect. I wish I could write a song for them or buy them a gift, but yeah, that would be odd, even for me. I'll just make sure they have a reserved spot on my shoe rack and that they don't get pushed to the back of the closet this summer.