Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Feet and Melting Roads

When I was growing up, every summer Tuesday was bookmobile day.  It parked for a couple of hours in front of the United Methodist Church where the fifth Sunday shape-note sing was held.  The songleader had some kind of palsy, it seemed to me, and the stuffed bobcat in the community center next door was losing its fur.  Oh, and the peach icecream at the meetings there was amazing.  Just saying.  Back to the bookmobile.  The selection wasn't huge obviously, and the children's section had my favorite check-outs, the Boxcar Children series.  The driver had a 'desk' of sort behind her driver's seat.  She just twisted around and stamped cards right there.  Those cards that let us take home our treasures.  This was the beginning of the huge book stacks.  See, I have a problem.  It's called underestimating the number of books I want to check out.  I inevitably waddle from whatever library with a ridiculous number of books, peering over the top and hoping I calculate the curbs correctly.  The children are useful for picking up the off-size ones that slip, slide, uh, that one's a goner.

These days, I meander carefully through the Hoover Library parking lot.  In shoes.  When I was a kid, I went  uphill both ways in two feet of snow.  Just kidding.  Actually, I went a mile or so from home to parking lot and then back the other way.  There was a method to navigating Nixon Chapel-Douglas Rd. in the summer, barefoot.  First, one had to watch out for the crazies zooming down the road in front of the bookmobile, cross quickly, and race to the shade of the auction that only opened on Saturday nights.  There was a prize waiting in that shade, a Grapico and Sunkist machine.  Cold.  So cold.  So if quarters were jingling in any of our pockets, we saw the last of them right there.  Then off we went.  The caffeine and sugar helped us meet our goal:  to walk quickly.  Not for exercise (we got plenty of that in the garden with my granddad).  No, the road was melting.  Literally.  Potholes were fixed occasionally, but the mixture would melt down and ooze on the surface of the road.  You had to hop around those spots if you didn't want to wish you were dead.  And just when you couldn't stand it anymore, there was that lovely stand of pecan trees in front of Mrs. Brown's house that made the road so cool with its shade.  We stood in silence.  Any noise might cause her to pop out of the house, wearing her clothes inside out and... well, we thought she was creepy.  Then off for home.

Needless to say, our feet was tarred by the time we got home if we weren't uber-careful.  In fact, they might be feathered or furred.  You had to watch out for things like roadkill.  To wear shoes in the summer put wear and tear on school shoes.  Maybe if we had wanted shoes, my mom would have let us wear them.  I don't think they were a forbidden object.  But have you ever been a mile from home on a hot day when your cheap flipflop's strap pulled away and you had to contort your big toe and second toe to grip it as you hopped home?  I have.  Too much trouble.  Have you ever tried to balance 20 books on a bicycle handlebar?  Too much trouble. 

On to 2015, my poor feet.  My poor, poor country feet.  I used to get pedicures and let the little Vietnamese ladies here scrub those calluses.  That was before two things happened.  I "lucked" out on an interesting massage chair with rollers in the seat.  OK, it just felt obscene- who wants a backside massage?  Ew.  I'll admit it.  It took me 15 minutes to turn that selection off.  (I'm not good with machines, and I wasn't about to try to explain my problem to someone using basic English).  The second thing that happened was this:
  Yes, that would be a cheese grater.  I kid you not.  Not a rasp, a cheese grater.  And the girl had the gall to smile and say, "Now, don't move.  I don't want to cut you."  To her credit, she didn't cut me, but she cured me of professional pedicures.  So, now we move from a childhood story to a life-changing invention.  I'm even posting a link here to Amazon so you can get one for yourself.  For the cost of one, maybe two pedicures, I have entered the world of nice feet.  Using this a little every day, my feet are returning from the world of scary dinosaur feet to nice human feet.  Even Nathan has been impressed, since I have spent 14 years trying to keep my heels from touching his leg in the bed.  I tried to convince him that they were great exfoliators, that the friction helped me keep my balance, that going to mailbox barefoot was normal.  He remains unconvinced.  So, goodbye scary summer feet.  This blog post is for you, Kristi Hope.  Not that you have scary feet.  The first part.  Haha!