As Smartmom put on her sneakers this morning, preparing to take another run, she took a long, hard look at those well-worn shoes. They are like old friends those blue and white nylon Sauconys with the small hole in the right toe and the frayed thread around the edges.
Those sneakers and Smartmom have been through a lot together. And they look it. Dirty, worn down, worn through, they've pounded pavement in the snow, the ice, the mud, and the grass. They've been with her on snowy nights in Prospect Park when snowflakes the size of ping pong balls covered Smartmom's wool hat, and nylon jacket. They were with her when she ran the Cherry Tree 10-mile race and the 11-mile practice a few weeks ago. And they were with her again, in the early ocean light on the Boardwalk, the amusement park boarded up and mute, the runners raring to go.
Smartmom also put on the official Brooklyn Half-Marathon t-shirt, given to the runners with their New York Road Runners Club registration bag. It's a soft cotton white long sleeve shirt that says Brooklyn in blue
The shoes, her race number, a piece of paper she pinned to her shirt, her nylon jacket, pants, the Road Runners shirt: these are the concrete reminders of Saturday's glorious race.
Her race number is already in the special cabinet in the living room along with other small, special things like her grandmother's sewing kit, her hospital braclets from when Teen Spirit and OSFO were born, her mothers 8mm movie camera, her grandmother's driver's license, the funeral card from Dave Fontana's funeral, the pin from Beautiful Smile's 60th birthday party, the handmade love note Hepcat made on a menu when they went to the Tonga Room in San Francisco in 1989.
These special keepsakes hold a place of honor in what they've dubbed the Cabinet of Wonders. OSFO and Teen Spirit like to look in there and hold these family treasures that are imbued with good stories and family history.
So what to do about those blue sneakers. Smartmom knows she needs a new pair. But she's not ready to part with these well-fitting, worn-in shoes. They say you're supposed to replace a pair of running shoes every 800 miles. That may be salesmanship, it may be true. Who knows. That hole in the toe isn't going to get any smaller.
If they fit in the cabinet of wonders, she'd put them there. But they won't. So that's that. She'll just have to find another way to honor these overused, loyal friends.