When I was a kid growing up on a pint-sized farm in Western Australia, I thought shoes were a grown-up horror. Bare feet were bliss.
Ah, those hot summer days feeling the dust under one’s toes, those cold wintry days of slopping along the long shallow ditch through the cow paddock pulling a home made “boat” (actually just a shaped piece of wood with a nail at the pointy end) behind me on a piece of knotted string… Ok, so I’d emerge with blue toes at the end, and have to race back to the house to get warm again, but that was half the fun.
At school, we’d take our shoes off the moment we hit the bare earth of the playground and not put them back on until the bell went to bring us inside again. The boys often wouldn’t even do that much. They’d sneak inside without shoes and at the end of the day their soles would be black because those jarrah board floors happily gave up some of their ingrained generations of oil…
Of course I paid a price for all that. I have two scars on the top of my feet still clearly visible nearly 60 years later. Whatever scars I had on the soles have long been worn off. The other price I still pay. I grew up with broad feet, typical of people who run around bare foot in their growing years.
As I have small feet otherwise, finding shoes to fit has always been a problem.
Today I walked into a shoe shop, wasn’t intending to buy anything, truly – I was just waiting for my husband – and I found a brand of shoe that fitted me beautifully. And they had my size. Fifteen minutes later I walked out with three pairs of shoes that fit. And look good. And made with leather uppers. And they weren’t expensive either.
Now that is bliss.