Shannon Bardwell: Shoe on the other foot

February 1, 2011 10:38:00 AM

Shannon Bardwell - msdeltachild@msn.com

 

Every word I ever said to my momma, I''ve had to eat. Even though she is no longer here, she whispers, "I told you so." 

 

In Momma''s later years she would say, "My feet are tender and shoes hurt my feet." 

 

"Well, you can''t go barefooted so we''ll find some that don''t hurt your feet." I''d roll my eyes and take her shoe shopping. 

 

I wondered why she had worn shoes all her life and now suddenly she couldn''t wear shoes. On the outside I was patient and smiling, but inside I was irritable and aggravated. "How about these, Momma? They look soft." Momma, please just get the shoes. 

 

Now I''m older, and though I used to run shoeless through the house, the floor hurts my feet. I need fluffy slippers. I decided it was time for a new shoe wardrobe, shoes that were soft and didn''t hurt my feet -- ones with lots of padding on the bottom and around the sides. Something like Momma would have worn. 

 

Shopping meant going to town, maybe even the mall. I don''t Internet shop and I prefer to stay in the Prairie, where rubber boots and pajamas are de rigueur. Since that''s not always possible, I shared my shoe needs with Sam. He was sympathetic but it was bewildering to him that I needed four pairs of shoes right off the bat.  

 

"Well, I know it seems unreasonable, but I do. Women need as least two casual shoes and two dress shoes and they need them both in black and brown, and it''s winter so I''ll need boots. That''s the minimum. It''s Biblical." 

 

"Biblical?" 

 

"Don''t you remember Esther? The king was choosing a bride and all the girls in the running had beauty treatments for a year. Then they got to pick out their outfits, jewelry and shoes. That''s what women do. Then there was Rebekah, who received a gold nose ring and gold bracelets from Isaac. Girls like to look nice and they don''t want their feet to hurt." 

 

Sam knows better than to argue with the Bible. So I went shopping. 

 

I looked for shoes that looked soft and somewhat fashionable. I picked up one soft boot much like the popular UGG style, only when I turned it upside down it said, "Hannah Montana." My stepdaughter laughed and said I shouldn''t tell anybody that.  

 

It''s really hard to shop nowadays; younger and younger children are trying to look older and older, and older and older women are trying to look younger and younger, so that at some point we meet in the middle and we all look like 13-year-olds. 

 

I found my shoes; they are all furry and comfy inside and don''t hurt my feet, so ... 

 

Momma I''m sorry; I understand your shoe problem now. And Sam, come spring I''ll have to shoe shop all over again.  

 

And Hannah Montana, what''s for spring? 

 

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.