By Kathleen Anderson

Tell us what you’re going to do tonight, mom.
There must be somewhere you can go
Amid tall drinks and drama,
There must be someone you know.
God knows you look pretty good
But you’re so smooth and the world is so rough.
You might have something to lose.
Oh, no, pretty mama, what are you gonna do
Do in these shoes?
– “These shoes” by the Eagles

If you’re of a certain age and are feminine in belief, chances are there was a time in your life when three-inch heels were a must.

They went wonderfully with fishnet or seamed stockings and anklets. Toe rings have been added if you were wearing open toe or sandal style shoes.

You probably also know all the words to the song above.

Shoes play an important role in our lives. Servicemen can see their reflection in their shoes when they finish polishing them.

Younger people are happy to pay hundreds of dollars for sneakers that advertise athletes. A trip to DSW is my daughter’s favorite destination. She needs a closet just for her shoes and yet usually wears the same ones every day.

And then we have to have our boating sneakers, our fishing and hiking shoes, our walking, running and track shoes, and of course our golf and bowling shoes.

And don’t even get me started on bedroom slipper styles… mules with huge balls of fluff on top – what were we thinking?

We thought glamorous. We thought sexy. We thought how much fun it must have been a woman.

Fast forward a few decades and the picture changes. Fallen arches and sensitive shoes have become our lot. So now we’re the ones with arch supports, flats with grippy soles and swollen ankles.

Well, the fun didn’t stop for everyone. A friend of mine in Bisbee, Arizona is quickly becoming a well-known artist. She has her own gallery, Belleza, in downtown Bisbee, a small but influential art colony.

She is originally from Tacoma and attended St. Martin’s University and then Gonzaga Law School. Her early career was that of a successful civil lawyer.

Lou Anne Sterbick-Nelson is never seen without her heels. Sleek and as glamorous today as she was in her twenties, she is married to the love of her life, Dennis Nelson. She waters her garden in her heels, paints incredible pictures in her heels, and shares her love of life with everyone she meets.

Now 70, Lou Anne is an inspiration to us all. Her hair is still so blonde and perfectly styled casually and I have long suspected that she wakes up in the morning with lipstick on.

Every year she travels to Mexico to gather more inspiration for her paintings and meet new interesting people. She often travels alone in Europe.

She founded a shelter for women reuniting their children under judicial supervision. I was honored to serve on its board of directors.

Every year, she and her husband Dennis celebrate their anniversary at Burger King, where they celebrated their first.

She encourages everyone she meets to do their best through example and support. She is the embodiment of human kindness.

But would she be as inspiring and fascinating in flat shoes?

I think so…but she is one of a kind…and she knows what she’s gonna do in those shoes.

Kathleen Anderson writes this column weekly from her home in Olympia. Contact her at [email protected] or post your comment below.


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