I realized something was missing the other afternoon on a sharply brisk fall day with enough breeze to part golden and bright red leaves from their summer home and chase them in wisps and twists down the street. Incomplete in this set piece for autumn? My slippers.
I had gone through the whole of the last season without such need, for the weather was too hot for wool-lined footwear, even for socks. The cold wood floor of the house was great relief.
But now we step into fall, and one of the joys of coming in after walking around in the grownup shoes of adulthood, doing this errand and that, is to anticipate coming home, closing the door behind you, knocking off the brown footgear and dropping ten toes into comfy slippers. That and maybe hot cocoa or a hearty soup plus reading material or interesting e-mail or a blanket and the recliner would bring me to the place where I wanted to be.
Yet I could not get there since the slippers from last-winter-into spring were not there. My footsies were getting cold and they had no friends to play with. I looked under beds, in closets, in storage, in the garage, in the car (out of desperation) and on shelves. No slippers, no where.
I then did what every husband does, and called out in the ether: “Where are my slippers?” The “answer” from my spouse was automatic – silence, for that is most usual when I offer a certain tone of voice.
It was only after I showed up in person in front of the other half and calmly repeated my question that I was directed to a drawer in furniture unit b, sub-compartment 626 that I found my old friends.
“Well, you left them in the middle of the hall last spring, so I put them away,” was the rationalization, as if my annual habit of parting winter-spring and cautiously approaching the hot humid time of summer was as usual as an animal awakening from hibernation.
The slippers located, my feet said hello. And there was purring to be heard.
Ah, another good step into fall.