For nine months of every year, our feet had been in prison in a pair of leather shoes. We couldn’t play outside, go to the store, or go to school without a pair of shoes on. We outgrew a pair every school year.
Then came the first of May! This was the first day of the year that we could take off our shoes and go barefoot. We marked our calendar and looked forward to that day.
Our feet were free! They had grown tender for nine months. The first two weeks or so, we walked lightly and limped all over the yard. The first thing I did was to climb a tree. You can’t climb with shoes on!
The fun began after our feet were toughened up. We could run like the wind, even on the Red Dog covered roads. We climbed trees and cliffs.
But there were always a few injuries that slowed us down a little — not much. We always got stone bruises, blood blisters, stubbed toes, bruises and cuts. There were always glass and mussel shells in the creek to cut our feet and toes. All old lumber piles had rusty nails in them. When we stuck a nail in our feet, we never told Dan or Mom, or they would take us to the doctor for a tetanus shot.
When we cut our feet, we tied rags around them and kept on playing, changing the rag before bedtime.
Chickens and cows roamed free, and many a boy and girl can remember that feeling of chicken and cow manure squishing up between our toes. We wiped it off in the grass and kept on playing.
Too quickly, the summer was over, and going barefoot was, too. We got a new pair of shoes for school. Our old shoes, if still wearable, were passed down to the younger kids, or given to a cousin.
Didn’t you just hate the blisters on your feet while breaking in a new pair of shoes every year?