Terri Kaiser

This time of the year, and for the remainder of the summer months, I get to pad around the house and the yard in bare feet. I love that. Of course, now that my feet aren’t what they used to be since the arches have fallen and I’ve had bunion surgery (don’t I sound like a catch?), I can’t get away with being shoeless for very long. After a while, my feet start to ache and it’s time for arch-supporting flip flops, of which I actually have a few pairs. And because said flip flops have a criss-cross pattern, the tops of my feet tan looking like they’ve been in a waffle iron.

As a kid, I went everywhere without shoes. Well, everywhere I was allowed to go. It was a matter of pride that after a few days I could run across our gravel driveway without a hitch. Yes, the bottoms of my feet were tough as leather and stained a dirty brown, but gosh what fun.

I do remember getting a nasty cut on the bottom of a foot when I stepped on a clamshell while visiting the lake by my grandparents' house. That was quite nasty. Then, there was the time I stepped on a dead bird and screamed bloody murder. Honestly, I thought I was going to have ‘the big one’ and I was only ten. Even now, when I think about that, it makes me cringe. The dead bird incident was not long after I had seen the Hitchcock movie, ‘The Birds’, which scarred me for life. I am not kidding. Suddenly there seemed to be dead birds everywhere.

And I’m off subject. Anyway, my poor feet.

I was also stung by a jellyfish once. I remember feeling this searing sting in my heel as I navigated the waves off the shore of Florida. It lasted a mere fifteen seconds and was gone. I didn’t know what it was but wasn’t too worried. Later that night, the pain set in and the sight began to ooze. It bothered on and off for almost six months! So now, there’s that to watch out for as well and I now visit the ocean with the protection of swim shoes. How did I get so wimpy?

But I will say that nothing screams summer like the feel of cool, green grass underfoot or the soothing feel of water lapping about your ankles. Not to forget the softness of newly tilled earth in the garden. Even now, after the initial planting, I had to soak them a good while to get them clean again. I know, too much information.

I do so love the feeling of shoving my tootsies down into the sand to that layer of darker sand that counters the top layer baking in the sun.

These days, there’s no way I could run across gravel unless I want to look like a drunk penguin, and even to navigate across the grass, I am on the lookout for pickers and bees and ticks (oh, if I only had a dollar for every picker I’d stepped on as a kid). Guess I just don’t have the devil-may-care attitude anymore, or could it be, that these days I pay for it on a grander scale than before.

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