Monday, November 12, 2012


One more injured toe.  I have a collection.

When I was a child, I wore shoes as little as possible. I went barefoot in the house, in the yard, in the woods, and anywhere else anyone would let me. I loved the feel of the cool grass beneath my feet, or the mud squishing between my toes in the lower end of the garden after a summer rain.

My mother preferred that I wear shoes, but if I put them on, generally they didn't stay on long if I was at home. Even in winter. Once I remember I was walking around the house with no shoes, and Mama said, "Get something on your feet!" I went and found my brother's old swim fins and came flapping into the kitchen. She finally noticed after I sat down on the step-stool by the stove. Fortunately she laughed about it... she still does.

I asked her one time why I had to wear shoes, and she told me that it was too early in the year to go barefoot. So, Little Miss Curious that I was, I asked what time of year was the right time to put the shoes aside. I think she wanted to give me a noncommittal answer when she told me, "You can go barefoot after you see the first bumblebee." Well, of course I never forgot it, and every year I was on the alert for bumblebees - which we generally associate with flowers and springtime, right?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I got off the bus one day last week wearing my teal-and-plum parka, as it was windy and rainy and somewhat cold (it is, after all, January in the northern hemisphere)... and what should I see but a big roly-poly bumblebee buzzing around me a couple of times checking to see whether I was a flower! I've already told my colleagues that if I should come to work one day minus the shoes, they'll have to talk to my mother about it. That bumblebee might have been lost, but he was right there practically in my face, and I just can't ignore the things my mother told me, can I?

Note: There've been a few times I really should've had my shoes on... like in 3rd grade when I jumped rope at school with no shoes and drove a roofing tack all the way to its head into my foot. Or one Sunday morning when I was playing in the "new ground" my dad was clearing and gouged the side of my foot with a freshly-cut root. Or when I broke my little toe running down the hall and into the living room, banging it into the corner of an old tabletop (minus the legs) we used to use for checkers, puzzles, dominoes, etc.

Mothers generally do know best, really.

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