Barefoot Season

Everyone has heard the phrase “barefoot and pregnant” when describing people from the south. Well, I don’t know about the pregnant part, but I can sure tell you about the barefoot. We southerners love to go barefoot. We often do it in snow, sleet, hail, high winds, or in any weather thrown our way. You might say we have tough feet, or feet like leather. This is good news for the foot manicurist in the south. They should do a good business.

In my opinion, you cannot be a true southerner if you are shod all the time. The true test of assimilation for our migrating northerners is determined by the amount of time they are without shoes. If shoes are still your best friend, you are not a true southerner.

While going barefoot is a way of life in this part of the world, I can remember as a child waiting for the end of May with great anticipation. What event did I wait, so patiently, to arrive on this special day? Barefoot season, of course. During the entire month of May, I dreamed of squishing my toes through the cool, green grass in our yard. I loved the way it felt on my little feet. I would perform a ritual of body rolling, and foot sliding, as if honoring some unknown grass goddess, responsible for telling my mother it was, indeed, barefoot time in Tennessee. It was a great feeling. I can still see the new green grass arrive and the memory rushes back, engulfing me with the desire to “roll and slide” my now not so little toes in its splendor.

Now, barefoot season did not come without a negative side. No, I can also hear the familiar words, “Did you wash your feet,” before going to bed or putting on shoes. I was sure my mother had great wisdom, as she seemed to always know the grass was not all my feet encountered during barefoot season. No, there were puddles, mud, and yes, even a little animal poop along the way. The puddles and mud were great, the poop, not so!

As an adult, I did away with barefoot season. I now go barefoot all the time, putting on shoes only for special occasions or going “out and about.” And, I do not wash my feet (don’t tell my mother). But, I do watch out for the puddles, the mud, and the poop now!

Source: K. P. Guessen