I love the expression ‘well-heeled,’ my friend Ed uses it a lot. It means affluent, moneyed, well-to-do. I like the imagery it provides: the Astors and Vanderbilts, Grace Kelly in It Takes a Thief, Cary Grant in just about anything.
Yesterday, first light, I saw a petite looking lady with 5 little dogs on a group lead: 2 miniature Poodles, a Yorkie, a Maltese, a Lhasa Apso and a French Bull Dog. I asked if they were all hers. “Yes,” she said, “all rescues.” I said what I always say when I hear that, “Good for you that you didn’t go out and buy a dog,” or 5 in her case. I then remarked at how great they looked, so healthy and happy not to mention groomed like show pups.
“They’re well-heeled,” she said before disappearing into the belly of the park.
Well-heeled, or well-healed?
I thought about the double-meaning wondering which one she meant.
Well-heeled isn’t always about money and privilege. It’s about going through hell and coming out the other side. How many times does that happen to an individual in a lifetime? Then I applied the term to myself.
I can think back to a few instances where life took a shot at me knocking me down fairly hard. When Bill Hicks died of cancer I never expected to rally yet I got up off the mat badly bruised but with compassion I certainly didn’t have when I fell.
Losing 2 best girlfriends to illness left me spinning like a top. Imagine Carrie and Charlotte without Samantha and Miranda (gratefully I still had Camille).
When Missy, my last cat died, my heart hurt so much that I drank, no exaggeration, every day for a month. I’m only sorry I didn’t frame my American Express bill. I think they even sent me a toaster.
I took turns sleeping on Camille’s and Trudy’s sofas because I couldn’t bear to go home without her greeting me. I’d slump to the floor in tears.
Lucky, the kitty, Rosie’s predecessor at the florist, helped me get through that painful time. Every morning I’d quietly let myself out of whosever apartment I was hiding in to walk before I could run into anyone. Lucky would wait for me in front of the store on 78th and Lexington where we’d sit together on the steps of a nearby townhouse. I’d quietly sob until he’d climb onto my lap to nuzzle and lick my face. One day the tears finally stopped so I knew I was better.
Shortly after that Lucky died of a heart attack in the middle of the store. The neighbors who all loved him built a little shrine on the corner with his picture in a frame. The heartbroken shopkeeper waited almost a year before Rosie appeared in a little wicker basket the size of a peach. They had a contest to come up with her name, the winner receiving violets in memory of Lucky who liked to eat them.
Well-healed, yes I like that spelling much better since it says a whole lot more than mere financial abundance…
rich in lessons, well-to-do in love and compassion, kindness and humility.
So whenever I don a little black dress with pumps that suggests wealth and affluence I can honestly say with much gratitude…
I am indeed…