Styling on Shoes

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I am thankful I’ve achieved one of my life goals!  I got Keds!  All the snooty kids wore Keds when I was in school.  Since there were five of us to shoe, Mother showed no interest in putting us on our path to snootiness.  When the guy at the shoe repair shop gave her notice that shoes were beyond repair, she’d bring home a new pair, sized by the pencilled imprint of the lucky kid’s foot.  She always went prepared,  just in case.  We were a one-car family and there was no possibility of a special trip just for shoes.  We were whatever she brought home.  There was no chance we could claim ugly shoes didn’t fit.  She knew what she was doing.

Sometimes,  one of us tripped Mother up by having a major shoe malfunction resultingin shoe acquisition that couldn’t be put off till Thursday, Daddy’s payday and her scheduled trip to town,  in that miserable situation.  On more the one occasion, she made a panicky trip to the dry goods store in Cottage Valley and bought the only shoes available.  We hated these crummy sneakers, or “Tennies” as we called them, the ugly, red-headed stepchildren of Keds.

Girls got a style somewhat reminscent of Keds, usually white, wide in the arch, just right for duck feet. Bill got hightop, black basketball shoes with a white basketball on the ankle.  Naturally, we had to wear theses lovelies till they fell apart.  Mine were always dirty by the time I got to school, even if I were lucky enough they’d just been washed, and frankly, they weren’t washed that often.

My brother Billy got off the bus in one shoe after school one afternoon.  Mother exploded. “Boy, where’s your shoe?”

He wasted some time trying to explain and she wasted more trying to make sense of the story.  Finally, she got down to business and hauled him back to school to retrieve it from deep in a mass of brush on the wrong side of a hurricane fence.  Undoubtedly, he’d pushed it deeper in his rescue attempts.  Eventually, they showed up at home victorious except for scratches on her forearms and a tick or two.

 

 

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A Spoonful of Sugar

goat poopI think I’ve mentioned my cousin Corwin was interesting. He was still hauling his bottle around when he started school. His teacher made him leave it at home, so first thing after getting off the bus, he’d get his bottle out of the cabinet, fill it up, and enjoy it along with his after school snack. A hearty eater, he’d grab up a handful of Gravytrain Chunks out of the dog’s bowl as he headed out to play football with his big brothers. As a crawling baby, Corwin had started shoving the puppy out of his bowl and just kind of got hooked on Gravytrain. It added a interest to the game to see Corwin playing football with his baby bottle sticking out of his back pocket. One of his brothers or cousins invariably snatched his bottle and ran, passing it on to whichever kid was new to the game. The chase was on. Corwin carried a grudge to the bitter end and picked up a stick or rock and bash the bottle thief’s head in long after the game of “Keepaway” concluded. His older brothers felt this bit of info was on a “need to know” basis, so new kids had to find out the hard way.

When he was about five or six, Corwin decided it was funny to pee the space heater. He’d fall all over himself to beat his mama in the front door, drop his pants, and spray the open flame with a stinking deluge that spattered, steamed, and spewed up the whole house. As he sprayed from side to side, kids would be scattering to avoid the stream. Should he have any ammo left, bystanders got it. His mother made a token protest, followed by, “I don’t know what makes that boy act like that.” Daddy told my aunt he’d hooked an electric shock to the heater, so Corwin would be electrocuted. She believed Daddy, so made Corwin give it up. I was sorry it wasn’t true.

Corwin was horrible. We all hated him. To make a long story short, Corwin was so darned mean, nobody would have stuck up for him. About that time, Daddy brought in some goats. At any rate, when Corwin saw goat pills littering the yard, he thought, they were chocolate M&Ms and gobbled quite a few before he noticed the taste was off. My brother and I made sure he had all he wanted. Seemed like justice.