The Gift of Shoes

September 28, 2012

My fabulous cousin, whose birthday is the day after mine, just turned 40. I had to miss her surprise party. But it is not too late for giving surprise birthday presents. What do you suggest? —Monica

Manolo says, perhaps it is the gypsy in the Manolo, but the Manolo cannot help but love the giant, big families, with the 13 children and the 20 dozen cousins of the varying degrees.

Especially the first cousins, who, because they are not always around like the siblings, can be great sources of support and amusement, without the attendant rivalry, jealousy and periodic fist-fighting. This is the secret to the relationship: You have the same grandmama and grandpapa, but you also have the different parents!

Who else but the first cousin would agree to accompany you on your schemes of mayhem and glory, without trying to steal the parental affection that will be required when you return home in ignominy?

For the example, the teeny Manolo and his own favorite first cousin, Teofilo, often sought out adventure in the countryside around the caravans. Ayyy! How many times did they have to scamper back home covered in purloined watermelon, the authorities in full cry behind them, only to split apart, Teofilo to his mother’s lap and the Manolo to his own mama’s.

Here is the Manda from Kate Spade New York ($298, Zappos.com) in the poetical anthracite starlight finish, perfect for the beloved accomplice on the occasion of her belated 40th birthday.

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