“Sophie,” Mrs. Ragstan said pronouncing the last syllable of her name with a sigh. “How many times have I told you to put your shoes in the closet where they belong? This is the third pair of shoes you’ve lost in a month.”
“I know, I know,” Sophie said, her chin resting on her chest. “But, Mama, I remember putting my shoes—both of them—in the closet. I do. I really do.”
Mrs. Ragstan opened her closet door and pointed. “Well, Sophie, do you see them in there now?”
“All right, Sophie,” Mrs. Ragstan said putting her arm around her eight-year old. “We’ll make another trip to the store and get you another pair of shoes. But you will have to make sure that you don’t lose them. After all, Sophie, shoes just don’t walk away now, do they?”
Sophie and her mom went to the store and found another pair of shoes—everyday regular black shoes. Sophie was excited to have a new pair and begged her mom to let her wear them home.
“Well, I guess that’s okay,” Mrs. Ragstan said. “They’re not going to get lost if they’re on your feet are they?” They both laughed.
Several days had gone by and Sophie still had her new pair of shoes. Every evening she carefully put them on the floor of her closet and closed the closet door. Several times one night when she woke up, she jumped out of bed, ran over to the closet and opened the door just to make sure the shoes were still there and they were. She knew if she lost another pair of shoes, she’d be going barefoot and it was much too cold to do that.
The following week when Sophie was cleaning her room, she pulled out all her remaining shoes and placed them along the edge of the wall. There was a blue dress shoe, a black dress shoe, a white tennis shoe, a ballet shoe, and a red slipper.
Sophie pointed her finger at the shoes along the wall. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you now.” She put them all back in her closet and closed the door. “Stay there!” she told them, then got her jacket on, and went outside to play.
Several hours later her mom called her back inside.
“Sophie,” she told her. “Aunt Margie is coming by in a little while. You’ll get to play with Roger again this week. You will need to play outside while Aunt Margie and I finish making the bridesmaid bouquets for her wedding. Understand?”
“Okay, Mama,” Sophie responded.
When Aunt Margie and Roger arrived, Sophie was first to greet them at the front door and then she and Roger took off for the backyard.
“Let play hide and seek,” Roger suggested. “You hide first.”
While they played outside the ladies worked on the bridesmaid bouquets.
“I really appreciate your help in finishing these, sis,” Margie said. “I’m not sure I would have everything ready without your help today.”
“Glad I can help, and I’m so glad you found a wonderful man and that Doug’s so good with Roger, too.”
“Yes,” Margie said. “Roger is excited that we’ll be a family and he really loves Doug.”
The women continued their work while Roger and Sophie played hide and seek. Soon Sophie’s mom called the children back inside. It was time for Roger and Aunt Margie to leave.
“Will I get a pretty bouquet at your wedding, Aunt Margie?” Sophie asked.
“I’ll have something special for you because you’ll be my special junior bridesmaid.”
“And I’m going to be the junior groomsman!” Roger declared, strutting around the room.
“Okay, you two,” Sophie’s mom said as she gave her sister a hug. “We’ll see you at the rehearsal on Saturday.”
They waved good-bye to each other and Sophie and her mom went inside. Sophie’s mom started the laundry and asked Sophie to get whatever she had in her hamper. When Sophie hadn’t returned after a few minutes, she went to investigate.
“Sophie,” she said finding she found her daughter in tears in the middle of her room. “What’s wrong?”
“Mama, I don’t know where my new shoes are! I’ve been putting them away in my closet each night, and when I got my dirty clothes out to bring you, I didn’t see them.”
Mrs. Ragstan and Sophie searched her room. There were no black shoes to be found. Sophie’s mom gave her a hug and told her it was okay. She had watched Sophie all week and knew she had been extra careful in keeping track of her shoes.
“Well, Sophie,” her mom said. “We’ll just have to go to the store again and find you another pair of shoes and a special pair of shoes for Aunt Margie’s wedding. How about that?”
Sophie wiped her eyes and nodded, a smile gradually emerging.
The day of Aunt Margie’s wedding came and Sophie was the cutest junior bridesmaid in her fancy pink dress and new white shoes. Sophie and Roger walked down the aisle, hand-in-hand, smiling and waving to everyone.
After the ceremony, Aunt Margie and Uncle Doug were ready to leave and everyone gathered by the church steps to see them off. When the car pulled away, Sophie hollered, “Mama, my missing shoes!”
Everyone’s attention followed the shoes and empty cans clanging behind the car headed down the street. Roger beamed with pride
It didn’t take long to find out that Roger was the culprit. He had heard that tying shoes and cans to the back of the car when you got married was good luck, and he didn’t want to lose Doug as his daddy. Each time he visited Sophie he took one of her shoes.
With the case of the vanishing shoes solved, Sophie’s mom took her to the store the next day and got her four pairs of new shoes in different colors. Sophie knew she wouldn’t lose these shoes, but in time she would grow out of them.