By Ashley Lodato

With nearly two weeks of hazy skies and smoky air behind us (barring a few clear days that lulled us into complacency), I’m guessing it’s lost on no one that such an environment is entirely—and frighteningly—possible as an increasingly regular occurrence ahead for us. Whatever you believe about the scientifically-verified concept of climate change, you can surely agree both anecdotally and statistically that our Western forests are burning at an unprecedented rate in recent years, and that’s only likely to escalate during our lifetimes.

On matters closer to the ground … Accuse me of having a foot fetish if you will, but I know that those of you who share my affinity for walking-home-in-someone-else’s shoe stories are always as glad as I am to hear another one. (If you need to revisit my Richard Hart and Fran Kaul stories on this topic, just let me know.)

Two weekends ago, during the Confluence Gallery Home Tour, my neighbor Mel Cooke was volunteering at House #1 on the tour. As many of us do in Methow Valley homes, he slipped off his flip flops and entered the house barefoot before assuming his post, as did most of the visitors to the house, adding their shoes to the pile.

After his volunteer shift, Mel went back outside and slid his feet into the flip-flops he assumed were his, but something didn’t feel quite right. On further inspection, Mel realized that the flip-flops were the same Olukai brand and roughly the same brown color as his own, but they were definitely not the ones he arrived in. Still, his original flip-flops were nowhere in sight, and Mel needed footwear to continue on with his day, so he put on the sandals and left.

Incredibly, one of the home tour participants saw Mel at the Mazama Store later that day and told Mel with great excitement that he had seen someone else wearing Mel’s flip flops and told the guy to go back to House #1, but by the time the guy got there Mel had gone.

If you are wearing a pair of brown Olukai flip flops that don’t fit the way they usually do, please call Mel at (425) 892-3644 to arrange a shoe swap.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about the swim team championships and I incorrectly identified one member of the winning 13-14-year-old “Jack and Jill” 4-person relay team; apologies to Eva Weymuller for leaving her off the roster.


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