Mabel and Ike just got home from school, and I heard her telling him, “Lately I’ve been promising myself or other people I’ll do stupid things, and then I do everything I can to keep that promise. Like, my friends and I found a granola bar in its wrapper and I said if they buried it in the snow then later we’d dig it out and I’d eat it, but now more snow got piled on top, and I’m going to try my hardest to dig it out and eat it.” I came down the stairs, and Mabel looked up at me and said, “I walked home barefoot.” “What? All the way?” “Yes. I promised myself I would, so I did. On the ice and snow, in some places. I almost cried–I promised myself I wouldn’t put my feet in my boots so I was walking on top of them but my feet would slide off so finally I just carried them.”
I really don’t yet know how to feel about this. At least it’s kind of warm outside today. And the soles of Mabel’s feet look red and so do her toes, but I don’t think they’re frostbitten. (The first thing I told Mabel was, “You could have gotten hypothermia on your feet,” and Ike corrected me, “No, you mean frostbite.”)
Heaven forbid anyone ever triple-dog-dares Mabel to anything really dangerous.
The other thing is that my sisters and I had shoe aversion issues in our youth, and apparently it’s genetic.*
*Youthful shoe-aversion stories:
1. When I was in grade school I thought the thick callouses on the soles of my mom’s feet were fascinating, and I also thought it would be brave and Maid Marian-esque* to have tough-soled feet, so to that end I went barefoot all summer. I got to where I could comfortably walk barefoot across asphalt in hundred-degree weather.**
*In my conception of Maid Marian, she was as lithe and brave and adventurous as Robin Hood, and would help to guide the Merry Men silently through the forest.
**One time my sister Mary and I also embroidered in the callouses on the soles of our feet.
2. I used to walk around my high school barefoot. I remember school counselors stopping me and telling me to put my shoes on. I also remember how black my soles were, which makes me cringe now.
3. One time after arriving home from a high school dance, we had to turn around and take my sister Mary back because she’d forgotten her shoes at the dance. We always removed our shoes at dances, but I thought it was exceptional to actually forget to put them back on afterwards. Also, I’m pretty sure this was in dead winter.
4. To help prevent future shoe losses, for a birthday gift for Mary our friend Dave made a contraption consisting of a belt with long elastics hanging down from each side of the waist, and shoes attached to the elastics.
5. [Added from my sister Lili’s comment] Also, you left out the story where a neighbor asked mom if Suzy needed shoes, because she’d seen Suzy walking home shoeless in the dead of winter. Mom was terribly embarrassed to realize that Suzy’s shoe aversion had made some people think that she wouldn’t make sure her daughter had shoes to wear. [I’m just waiting for my neighbors to ask me similar questions about Mabel.]
Ah, the folly of youth.
I do love shoes now and wear them regularly. I think having been a missionary in urban areas of Belgium and northern France, with their much dog-pooped-upon streets, may have been what cured me.
Warmer times. Mabel found this palm frond-like thing on an abandoned lot by the rental condo where we stayed in St. George, and has been wanting me to put this photo on my blog. It does seem preferable to a photo of her nearly-frostbitten toes.