Barefootin’ time soon

Published 4:55 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

do not go barefoot anymore. The soles of my bare feet are so tender, nowadays, that, even in the house, I wear socks and shoes. It’s been that way for a long time, but when I was a boy, about this time of the year, riding the school bus home, I would be taking off socks and shoes, ready to hit the ground running when I stepped off that bus.

What makes me think of barefootin’? May 1st is just around the bend and that was the date that officially began the accepted barefoot season. Of course, we didn’t always go by the official date and, as soon as spring had sprung, we’d be itching to go barefooted.

Daddy would be plowing by the house. He’d have a bottom plow on the tractor and turning the land, as we called it. That simply meant that the curved bottom plow would take last years old top soil and turn it under so that new soil could be prepared for the planting season.

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Back in those days, we turned all of the fields and not just the peanut acres. These days the only acres that are turned are those fields that will be used for peanuts.

Turning the land upside down made the soil smell different. I can’t explain it, but the smell of the dirt came wafting up. The soil was also warm for the most part and so inviting to bare feet. I can remember running across the field toward the tractor and daddy just feeling that dirt between the toes.

There was another advantage to going barefooted. I could run faster with no shoes on or at least I felt like I was faster. At school we might have foot races, but before we raced, we had to take off our shoes. Toes would dig into the sand and, just like a car “spins off” when drag racing, the feet would kick up the dust as the race began.

In those days, once May 1st arrived, there were no more shoes needed. Of course, we had to leave the house for school with shoes on, but once we got on the bus and away from momma, the shoes were taken off.

Our feet would get pretty tough by the summer and everywhere we went around the farm was barefooted. Even walking in the woods or down to the pond to go fishing. I can’t begin to imagine how close we came to snakes as we traipsed down by the creek.

Every now and then, we’d step on something that would cut our bare feet. Hopefully, it was just a piece of glass and not a rusty nail. If it was a rusty nail, the first thought was always “lockjaw.” I never understood what “lockjaw,” meant but it was serious. I mean if your jaw got locked, how would you be able to eat or talk?

If it was simply glass, no problem. Go get the kerosene and drench the foot. Kerosene could solve any problem. After the cleaning of the kerosene, put a little Mercurochrome on it. That little yellow bottle was a cure-all antiseptic. It stung a little and turned the skin yellow, but that’s all that was needed.

I looked up Mercurochrome and it’s no longer available. The Federal Drug Administration didn’t actually ban it, per se, but it can’t be sold across state lines. Go figure that out!

A man mentioned barefootin’ at church Sunday and another said “I still go barefooted around the house.” Not me. My feet are so tender if I went barefooted, you’d think I was tiptoeing through the tulips!