Thursday, September 10, 2009

Write about a pair of shoes.

The new shoes of the year were always the start of school shoes. Late summer, the week before school started, Mom would take us to the shoe store. We'd sit on the chairs and the clerk would measure our feet. That would be one of the few people in my life that could touch my feet and not send me into crawly fits of ticklishness. (Is that a word?)

Summer vacation, all three long months of it, were spent in old hand-me-down tennis shoes, flip-flops (otherwise known as thongs), and barefoot. Freedom of the soul as well as freedom of the sole. Wiggle the toes in the grass. Wiggle the toes in the sand. Wiggle the toes in the mud, if we could find any. The shoe store clerk's measurements would show our tan and leather-like feet grew whole sizes or more over the summer.
Next came the choice. It wasn't too difficult in the 1960s as our small town stores didn't have the choices we see now. My goal was to have a pair that didn't tie. Buckles stayed put but laces would come undone even after Grandma's special double-knot. My sister would try guess what her friends would be wearing and then pick those. She was wrong every time.
The day after school closed for the summer, those shoes would be resting in the trash. I picture them now with smoke wisping up the broken down heels and goo leaking out of the holes in the toe box. We put miles and miles of running, jumping, line leadering, and kickball scuffing into those small containers. They did their duty and then some.
I just wish I'd kept some of the energy that used to fill those shoes.