Random Thoughts

Memories Are Wonderful Things 

... How things change as we get older

Bob Ross

I guess we all remember our childhood. Some of it anyway. It's not like reading a book, things just happen to remind you.

When I was young, I went barefoot most of the time. To school, playing; seldom did I wear shoes. I guess the only time I wore shoes was on Sunday. The family dressed up in our Sunday Best and went to School and Church. I don't think I had but one good pair of shoes anyway. Unless it got real cold, they were not worn.

It really got hot in Atlanta where I lived growing up. Going barefoot regularly your feet would get tough. Sometimes the sidewalk got too hot to walk on and you ran. Mostly though, it wouldn't bother you.

This happened some 65 or 70 years later. I am not young anymore, and no, I have no desire to be.

It was a hot day. I had on shorts and was barefooted. Was playing around in the computer and watching tennis. My wife Lil was in the den with the air conditioner going full blast. After a couple of hours, I decided to miss a bit of the tennis and have a smoke.

Went to the deck during a break and lit up. My wife does not allow me to smoke in the house. The awning was down, shading the deck. We were in a heat wave and temperature was over 95 degrees. The sky was clear blue, the sun blazing overhead and fortunately there was a nice sea breeze that cooled the air off a bit.

I had nearly finished the smoke when a couple of pieces of a newspaper blew down the driveway and ended up in the flower bed near the fence.

Without giving it any thought, I got up and stepped on the deck not shaded by the awning. It was like stepping on a hotplate. On tip toes, jumping up and down I made it to the steps as fast as I could, taking them two at a time. When I hit the blacktop it was like stepping in a hot bed of coal. Man, my feet were on fire. Although the blacktop was only 5 or 6 feet wide, my feet were burning. I made it to the grass, grabbed  a 5 gallon bucket of water I had near the garden plus an old dishpan. I stuck one foot in the bucket and the other in the dishpan and stood there till they stopped burning.

Cooled down, I tiptoed across the black top, took big steps to make it to the stairs, ran up two at a time and again my feet were on fire. I then sat in the shade a few minutes, letting the feet cool off before going back in.

As they calmed down, for some reason I thought of my childhood, wandering the streets barefoot and never being bothered by the hot pavement. I wondered how long it had taken for them to get that tough back then.

One thing for sure, I do not plan to go out again barefooted. Not on a hot days like today, anyway.

I missed a couple of fast games, and sat back down to watch the match. Next time I went out for a smoke, I did not leave the shaded deck.

What am I trying to say? I guess nothing, but it is amazing how small incidents cause you to remember things you haven't thought of in years. You change as you get older, but your mind continues to remind you of the past. I was so tough as a youngster.. so tender today.

Thank goodness for our memories.

November 16, 1999

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