“Who’s Barefoot Now…?” by Linda Willows


from Linda, Just Remembering….

When I was a child growing up in the Deep South, my sister and me, who were always fitted with the most awful black lace up “Stride-Right” shoes during the School Year, would liberate ourselves during the long hot Summer. Barefoot Bonanza! We joyously freed anything that hindered our adventures or threatened restriction. Barefoot, all the world is barefoot.

Most of our friends on the block were allowed to wear “flip-flops” but our mother insisted that they were bad for our feet. Since we, like everyone our age, held them in very high esteem, we then took to drawing pictures of flip-flops and pretend that they were ours. Many colors, designs; it was almost fun. But ultimately barefoot was the best indoor outdoor choice, even if I did change my outfits two or three times a day; no worries about matching footwear.

I remember the cool moist feel of the thin grass in the front yard and the feeling of the bark as I climbed up my favorite tree; the breeze as it floated through my toes which I later learned to dance on. Good strong feet from healthy shoe!

Both my sister and I had our quirks. She obsessed about flip-flops and eventually designed a pair for each of us made out of cardboard and string. We proudly wore them around the neighborhood. What could my mother say, she didn’t want to stifle creativity. Later, I would be stuffing those same feet into two size smaller Pointe Shoes with practice every day for the rest of my time.

And I, always trying to design everything, wasn’t satisfied with the grass in front of our two family home so I got a pair of scissors and cut the front lawn by hand, blade by blade. It was a magnificent achievement. I have no idea what the neighbors thought. I sensed that good grass was one of life’s important things and if you had it you get many points. (no pun intended) If it was thick and mowed I developed an admiration beyond my years.

I continued the practice of drawing scenes of how I would like myself or life to be. It was always pleasurable to live inside these pictures of mine. I could be anything I desired. Imagine, I became a great ballet dancer, had long, long hair, was thin and perfect, had lots of friends and a beautiful room with and central air conditioning and a pool of course. Oh, it was a great life there in my sketch book!

Note: I made a sketch of what my husband would look like many years before, and it did look quite similar. None of the others were true, just fancy and fun. And the husband, well…it didn’t turn out. I should have seen the all the indiscretions and ripped trust. Paper gone, shredded some years ago.

However, I still am barefoot. And I love flip-flops. I have about a dozen pairs and no one can pry me from them, gaudy, gold, bangles, designer, fluffy or not. Exception: when I lived overseas in certain cultures, you may not show your toes or feet, especially the bottom! I thought that fair. I brought “school shoes” to blend. One good lesson about bare feet is to be aware of your surroundings. If your going to bare your sole, please try to be sweet!

©2012 Linda Willows

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