I have a great pair of winter boots. I bought them in a big snowstorm about ten years ago when Meka and I were dating. They’re not exactly stylish and – to be honest – they weren’t fashionable even when they were new. They’re big and gonky; I have a hard time determining which one goes on my left foot and which one goes on my right. The tops are colored a dirty olive and the bottoms are the color of uncooked dough. But they have one redeeming quality: they keep my feet warm and dry.
I slipped them on as I got ready to go up to Menasha, Wisconsin. I had talked to our tech up north who claimed he cleaned about a foot and a half of snow off his driveway. We got about four inches in Belvidere, but a strong wind had piled up a drift down by the mailbox. I had two days of training to do at a client, plus a meeting with the powers-that-be. I had to be up there at ten o’clock in the morning, so I got going in the pre-dawn darkness around six. I was a bit groggy, even with the 44 ounce Diet Pepsi I picked up on my way out of town. I had this feeling I was forgetting something, but I couldn’t think of anything obvious. I had my laptop in my backpack. I had my meeting notes and training materials. I had packed my suitcase and was reasonably sure I had socks and underwear for the duration.
Despite the snow, the roads were relatively clean. The sun – when it rose – was unopposed in a blue sky. I flipped on news radio and was reminded about once every two minutes that the governor of my home state is a goofball. I finished my first Diet Pepsi in Milwaukee traffic and stopped at a Kwik Trip to pick up another one. That’s when it dawned on me my work shoes were still sitting at home a hundred miles away. I was dressed in a button down shirt and dark slacks; neither matched well with the gigantic boots I was wearing. However, I needn’t have worried. Menasha had a foot of snow overnight. I clomped into the office and thudded heavily through the hallways to the training room. Two of my students (including a vice president) were wearing their best business casual combined with a pair of boots.