FETISH: an object that is superstitiously believed to have magical powers.
Looking ahead to our four days at a national poetry convention in Santa Fe, Lucia Wainwright suggested that we take some supplies requested by Catholic Charities.
The target charity is asylum seekers who have been temporarily released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while they await their hearing. Meanwhile, Catholic Carities in Santa Fe, house, feed, and clothe 400+ immigrants for up to three days as they arrange transport to their sponsors or relatives.
As you know from watching the news, the immigrants arrive fatigued, foot-sore, and in need of life’s basics. Should you want to see the list of needed supplies, go to http://www.ccasfnm.org/companions.html.
Given that the immigrants are shortly on their way to somewhere else, they are travelling light. If they can’t wear it or ingest it, they don’t need it. At the top of my list is baby formula, meds (for pain, constipation, and diarrhea) and baby books in Spanish. Hoodies in all sizes and airplane blankets that you mistakenly took with you when debarking are also welcome gifts.
Having walked many Camino de Santiago miles myself, I know about foot-sore. But I was wearing good hiking boots and I carried only a day-pack. I was not fleeing violence. Nor was I hungry or thirsty. Unlike the immigrants from Central America, I carried neither a baby nor a toddler. No one clung to me.
Looking at the list of needs, my attention immediately focused on the call for children’s shoes. With that in mind, I drove to Canon City and bought 20 pair at Goodwill and New Horizons. Next week I’ll hit up the charity shops in Pueblo.
My mother had ‘a thing’ about having perfect feet. To that end, I grew up deprived and destined to wear sturdy, utilitarian Buster Brown shoes. Looking for a photo of the shoes that I wore through middle school, I found what I was looking for: Vintage Buster Browns! (If my shoes are now vintage, am I Vintage too?!!)
I dreamed of strappy, patent leather, church-going-shoes… anything other than what I was wearing. If I only had trendy shoes, I would be more popular. If only I had cuter shoes, no one would notice my homemade dresses. If only I had groovier shoes, maybe my math score would improve. Maybe.
Spreading out my just purchased asylum shoes on the kitchen table, I grinned with satisfaction. I had found some wonderful shoes – shoes that I had only dreamed about.
All the shoes are cool. There’s not one Buster Brown in the bunch. I would have killed for these shoes.
If I’d had these shoes, I would have been more popular, AND I would have been better at Math. The blue shoes in the front, the ones with the hearts and stars? They would have given me magical powers.
I smile to think of the little girl who will wear them.