Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley shares a flip-flops' fairytale.
During two recent trips to the Hannibal Clinic, as I sat pondering the meaning of life, my contemplation was broken by the “clop, clop, clop” sound made by an approaching person. In each instance the “clopper” was wearing a pair of flip-flops.
It struck me how loud the popular summertime footwear was. Each time the individual was well down the corridor when I first heard them. Certainly there have been other instances when I’ve been around souls, er, soles wearing such open-toed sandals, but I’d never noticed how noisy they could be.
Maybe the “clop, clop, clop” was more noticeable because the waiting area was so quiet. Possibly it had to do with the fact they were walking on carpet. Whatever the reason, I quickly concluded to never wear a pair of flip-flops if my mission was dependent on stealth.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not ridiculing anyone who wears a style of footwear that can trace its “roots” back to the ancient Egyptians in 1,500 B.C.
While I must admit I don’t own a pair of flip-flops, they seem to keep popping up wherever I turn. In addition to the clinic, I couldn’t help but notice a pair last week that had been abandoned outside the Courier-Post office.
As I walked Monday morning along the Third Street sidewalk, stretching from where I park to the employees’ entrance at the HCP, it was hard not to notice a bright yellow pair of flip-flops that had been abandoned in a clump of weeds near the doorway. Although obviously not new, they still looked to be in wearable condition. Yet, there they lay.
Had they been lost? Had they been discarded?
Each time I walked past them in the days that followed, my imagination would begin to conjure up potential explanations concerning how they happened to wind up laying on a sidewalk in America’s Hometown.
Perhaps they had once belonged to a nice, young woman whose name we’ll pretend is Cindy which considering how parents spell kids’ names today would likely be Sin-dee. Oh and in case you’re wondering the similarity between Cindy’s name and that of Cinderella is purely coincidental – wink.
Although Cindy didn’t get out much, that didn’t put a damper on her raging late-teen, early 20s hormones. She frequently dreamed about one day encountering Mr. Right. To enhance her chances, Cindy liked surfing different dating sites on the web, with her favorite being findaprince.com. There she would spend hours reading and re-reading profiles and looking at photos until one day she found a fella who both looked and sounded great - Prince (what parents won’t name their children today).
Following an exchange of playful banter via e-mail, Cindy and Prince decided to set up a rendezvous. However, because her car was in the shop, they agreed to meet at a neutral site, within walking distance of Cindy’s downtown Hannibal home.
From here, our story really leans on conjecture regarding what might have happened to separate Cindy from her flip-flops.
Maybe Cindy had seen one too many episodes of “Law & Order” and “CSI” and concluded the odds of winding up in a body bag were much better than in a wedding dress, and decided at the last second to forego the meeting. Maybe she showed up and discovered Prince looked more like a sumo wrestler than a summa cum laude. Maybe Cindy caught one look at the guy and realized it was an old boyfriend to whom she owed money. Perhaps Cindy realized the photo she saw online was identical to one she saw in the post office.
Whatever the reason, it spooked Cindy so badly that she literally ran out of her flip-flops by the Courier-Post.
On the other hand, Cindy and Mr. Right might have hit it off so well on their first date that Cindy’s flip-flops simply dropped off as she “floated” home.
All I know is that Friday morning the flip-flops were gone. Had Cindy come back and retrieved them? Did a handsome young man pick them up and go in search of their owner? Or did someone at the HCP simply pick them up and throw them away?
While the flip-flops’ fate will likely never be known, I’m hoping their story has a happy ending.