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Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016

Something In The Air

Posted Thursday, June 2, 2011, at 9:31 AM

Spring finally has sprung us right on into summer here in the Bootheel. As usual we have gone from wet, windy and chilly to hot, windy and hot.

Most people have the feeling of renewal in the spring... With summer comes, for me, the feeling of "new"...I think it began when I was old enough to remember getting my summer tennis shoes....

Aaahhhh, the wonderful smell of new rubber in the air.

I spent every winter in a pair of heavy, ugly saddle oxfords because my mother (correctly as it turns out) was convinced they were the only shoes that were going to keep me from having flat feet ...A fate worse than death in her book. I still vividly remember trudging into our local department store (Stovall's for all you Malden folks) in those hateful saddle oxfords and sitting in one of the chairs they had all lined up for their shoes customers. I always felt very important sitting in those chairs. Mr. Shepard or Mr. McMillian would bring over the selection of tennis shoes...and it was a small one compared to the current day selection of athletic shoes. They would carefully measure my foot and go get the right size in the pair my mother selected...no boys and girls...I did not get to tell her which shoes I wanted...she chose them for their price and durability....since they were the only pair I would have all summer.

Several rituals of shoe buying were involved...as I mentioned earlier, the measuring of the foot to see how much it had grown...the sitting in the chair watching him lace up both shoes...because I had to try on both left and right shoes...the sedate walk along the carpeted floor to see how they felt and if the heel slipped...some times I just couldn't resist a jump or skip or two...the mashing down with the thumb by Mr. Shepard or McMillian on the end of the toe of the shoe to make sure I had "room to grow" ...my fingers crossed that whichever pair I got would be "cute". The big name tennis shoes at that time were P.F. Flyers and Red Ball Jets so of course those were the objects of my desire.

The very best and most wonderful part of the shoe buying ritual was walking out of the store with the hated saddle oxfords in a box and the tennis shoes on my feet! I literally felt like my feet were so light I could fly. You know that dance Snoopy does when Schroeder plays the piano for him? It felt like that and in my memory it was always a sunny day, so when I stepped out of that door I stepped right into summer sunshine.

When school let out...on that last hot, noisy day three long months of summer shimmered in front of my eyes....months of fun and eventual boredom...three months is a really long time to a kid in grade school...and I had on my new tennis shoes...anything could happen! It felt like a new beginning to me. Life was going to bring lots of new and wonderful things that summer...surely. It was mine for the taking...

That was the other thing that was in the air in the summer...freedom.

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So I was thinking...
Debby Cook
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