Barefoot

To a farm boy in the thirties, wearing shoes was almost as unpopular as wearing a tie.  At the first hint of warm weather, the shoes were removed, allowing the wiggling of the toes and the warm feeling of sand under your feet.  You also had the pain of briars, sharp rocks, and splinters, but remembered only the joys.  From the beginning of spring until almost the first frost, we went barefoot, the soles of our feet becoming a solid callous.  Our feet were so tough we could navigate on almost any surface without pain.

In the middle of summer, about 1938, my brother Arvel and I were returning from the Selfs on the bluff.  We were heading home through a short cut that cut the distance in half, but required that we go through some dense woods and a corn patch.  When we were just getting into the corn patch, we suddenly came upon a snake.  Since we had no warning, the snake was directly in my brother's path.  Instead of avoiding the snake, he jumped on top of it.  Using his calloused feet, he stomped on the head, killing it.  We said nothing for a few minutes.  Afterwards, when he suddenly realized what a chance he had taken, he said, “Well, I ain't going to do that again.”

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