Every fall, right before school started, Mother would take my sister Abby and me school shopping. We would get one pair of shoes that were supposed to last the entire year. Now, as you know, kids feet do grow, just like the rest of their bodies. However, this fact eluded our mother. One pair would last us the whole year, come hell or high water.
One year while we were both in elementary school, Mother decided that since saddle shoes were in style she would buy a pair for each of us. Being the fashion maven she thought she was, off we went to get the shoes. Abby and I weren’t that interested in saddle shoes but as you know it was never a good idea to disagree with Mother. Even at this young an age, we had learned to pick our battles.
Mother picked out the ugliest saddle shoes known to man. They were not the little cute ones with little eyelets for the shoestrings. Oh no! The next thing we knew, Abby and I were wearing big, clunky, giant clodhoppers! They were heavy, very sturdy and almost indestructible. I had an “aha!” moment I shared with my sister, who agreed:
No wonder she decided on saddle shoes! They just might last forever.
After leaving the store with the giant shoes (which we learned shortly thereafter many of our classmates called “shit-kickers”), I hatched a plan. Upon our arrival home, I ran into the house and immediately put the ugly footwear on my feet. Now our mother never liked for us to wear any of our school clothes or shoes prior to the first day of school.
Somehow I convinced her that I wanted to show them off to our neighbors. After I put on an performance worthy of an Academy Award, she fell for it. Though of course it could have been she was completely sauced and wanted some “quiet time”, or she wasn’t drunk yet and wanted some private quality time with her old friend Jack Daniels.
Outside I ran to do my best at scuffing up the clodhoppers and making them even uglier than they already were. When I returned home, the shoes actually looked worse, if that was possible. I was certain that Mother would notice or care. True to form, she did not disappoint; not a care was had by her about the state of what had been brand new shit-kickers. Though, again, she might have been a bit wasted by then.
In her mind, I suspect, the shoes were not “her problem.” They weren’t on her feet. She would not suffer the humiliation of wearing giant clodhopper, shit-kicking foot apparel. That honor belonged to Abby and me.
Another semi-lesson learned: it’s not what’s on your feet that makes the person. It’s the feet inside that will take you where you wish to go. Abby and I wished to never, ever wear clodhoppers again and we never have. After all, we do have standards!