What would you say if a stranger walked up to you and said I will buy your kid shoes? Well I know, your eyes would go big and your mind would race, what the heck is with this weirdo. I am that stranger, purchased a pair of shoes for this little Indian girl. Let me go back a bit. I go through these kind of obsessions with purchasing certain items. Years ago it was bags and backpacks. Then it was frying pans and brooms. Later years it was shoes. I would buy shoes for my kids. I got a lot of pleasure out of doing that. It was one of the last things I did for my Son. Although my kids with the exception of Chloe, are grown up, I still buy them shoes. I gave my Son a pair of sneakers and a pair of black casual shoes the last day I saw him. When we found him, he still had the sneakers but not the other pair.
My Son's addiction was all consuming. He was like all other young guys, he liked to take care of how he looked. I remember the week before he left, we went out to buy him a hat, one of those baseball caps. He took great care in choosing a hat. It was very sad for him, all of his things went out to feed his addiction, to feed the monster. Even something as personal as fitted hat, was not off limits. The sellers of the monster will take anything you have to trade. The monster, the devil will take your soul. Wow, I sound like a holy roller!
The thing about buying the shoes, this Traditional guy in the Reserve told me to keep on doing that. Keep buying shoes for kids. Find some kid or person and offer to buy them shoes, but make sure to tell them about your Boy. I thought about it and was not really keen to the idea at first. I mean people will think I am rude or nuts. However, when I do see Indian kids I feel like giving them something or saying hi to them. I want to somehow give a little help in their lives. I know it's arrogant of me to think that they need my help. In any case I didn't plan on buying shoes this one day. I was just walking around the downtown mall in Winnipeg. This mall has a lot of Indian people that hang around there. I was just wondering around lost in my thoughts and had no reason to be there. I saw this young girl with her little girl. The little girl must have been around 4 or 5 and the mother was in her twenties. I watched them for a while just walking around and looking at stuff. There was some kind of sale where the shops put out stuff in the walkways, like a sidewalk sale. The girl and her daughter went on their way. I chickened out and didn't talk to them. I regretted it right away. So I walked in their direction and it happened they stopped to look at some clothes. I approached them and ask the girl if I could buy shoes for her daughter. The girl looked at me like I was crazy. I went on to explain about my Boy and so she finally said it was okay. She laughed at me and said that it sounded crazy.
We went into the Shoeware House and I told her to pick any kind of shoes she wanted. The little girl picked out sandals for $19. I tried to get her to pick up sneakers but it was sandals that she wanted. We talked about Fort Alexander Reserve and it turns out she was from the same reserve. I know her grandparents. As we talked she asked my name so I told her. At this time there was another Indian woman walking around close to us. When we went to the till the other Indian lady asked me if I was Jess's Dad. I told her yes, and then she said her mom was Brenda from Red Lake. Before the girl could say anything more I said are you my brothers' daughter. She said she was. She has never met my brother but our family knew of her because her mom had sent a picture from Ontario when she was born. My brother was never sure if he was the Dad. Anyway my Mom accepted it as true right away, but we never got to meet her. She was living in the city now and had met my brothers' oldest daughter and my daughter. She knew of my Son's story from the girls.
It was one strange day, but a good day.