REMARKS

Since in my own mind many of these posts have been "chapters," I'm splitting some of them out to separate blogs. But also, my audience is divided and quite different, one part from another. Many have dropped out and many have newly arrived. There are recognizable paper "book" versions of some of the posts that fit together.

I find that some people still assume that a blog is a sort of diary. This one is not. It is not for children, either in terms of subject or writing style. It's not written "down." Think academic magazine or column without footnotes.


SOCIAL MEDIA

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Other Blogs by me

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE ART OF BOB SCRIVER, PLEASE GO TO: www.scriverart.blogspot.com.

Notes from Alvina Krause between 1957-1961 are posted at www.Krausenotes.blogspot.com


TWO REBLOGS:
Fiction about Indians at www.willowsticks.blogspot.com
Essays about Indians at www.siksikaskinitsiman.blogspot.com



Sunday, April 02, 2006

BARE-FOOTIN'

Robert Parker Lyrics - Barefootin Lyrics

Everybody get on your feet,
You make me nervous when you in your seat
Take off your shoes and pat your feet,
We're doin a dance that can't be beat
We're barefootin', We're barefootin',
We're barefootin', We're barefootin',

Went to a party the other night,
Long Tall Sally was out of sight
Threw way her wig, and her high sneakers too,
She was doin a dance without any shoes
She was barefootin', She was barefootin',
She was barefootin', She was barefootin',

Hey little gal with the red dress on,
I bet you can barefoot all night long
Take off your shoes and throw them away,
Come back and get them another day
We're barefootin', We're barefootin',
We're barefootin', We're barefootin',

Lil John Henry he said to Sue,
If I was barefootin' would you barefoot too
Sue told John, "I'm thirty two,
I was barefootin ever since I was two
They was barefootin', they was barefootin'
They was barefootin'', we barefootin'
We barefootin' we barefootin'
We barefootin' we barefootin'
We barefootin' we barefootin'
We don't have no shoes on

This lovely little song came on the radio a week or so ago and it’s been floating around in my head ever since. The central idea is going to a dance, getting into the mood, and kicking off one’s shoes to do a little rhythmic movin’ in one’s bare feet. Be natural, get with the scene, connect to that cool floor.

I’ve always loved going barefoot. In the days back in Portland when I walked home from school on hot pavement, my shoes came off as soon as I got to our lawn. My mother always claimed I learned this trick in California when we went to visit my father’s brother and his family. But then, my father always sang to my mother (who was named Lucy), “Lucy, put your shoes on -- you’re in town now.”

Barefoot: sensuous and free, dancing in California, hick behavior of a country girl, and more. My brother once said, when we were discussing insurance in our late middle-age, “I’m walking barefoot though the world.” He meant this to mean that since he had no insurance there was nothing to shield him from injury or from the costs associated. Therefore, he must be alert to avoid broken glass, rusty nails and scorpions, but he seemed to be confident he could do that. (In reality neither of my brothers was fond of going barefoot.) A certain amount of fatalism here.

Once at a party or something, a handsome young man remarked, “I could never make love to an older woman because their feet are so ugly.” I knew what he meant: feet tortured into bunions and snaggly toes because of being crammed into small high-heeled shoes for so many years that they can NOT go barefooted -- their Achilles’ tendons have shortened to fit high heels and stretching them enough to keep heels on the ground is painful. I guess that young man would have to make love to older women who keep their Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos on while in the act. Over the years I’d look at my feet and wonder if they were yet ugly enough to prevent a young man from devoting time to me.

I took pride in my high arches, though they often made shoes uncomfortable and then suddenly in my late fifties, I began to have plantar fascitis, which is an inflammation of the sheet of tissue over the bottom of the foot. What was tricky about it was that it turned out to be due to torn cartilage in my knee, which was allowing my ankle to twist. Even before that I’d gone to what I once scorned as “old lady shoes,” meaning something like orthopedic sandals with cushy soles. All my life I’ve walked a lot and in Saskatoon I used to walk across the bridge to downtown -- past a shoestore. The first cushy flat, wide sandals were English. They were still not the plain brown Oxfords I was forced to wear as a child, nor the slightly high-heeled lace-up shoes of my grandmother, which made her swollen ankles bulge over the top. Anyway, nowadays old ladies wear athletic sneakers. Or as they say in England and Saskatoon, “trainers.”

But now I’m having to face a new issue. One of the great preoccupations of people who advise diabetics is the dire warning that if they don’t do the right thing, they will have their feet amputated. I know this is the truth -- after all, I know several people who HAVE lost their feet. But it always makes me think of that terrible Hans Anderson fairy tale (immortalized in the movie, “The Red Shoes”) about putting on shoes that dance, dance, dance, obsessively until the wearer is exhausted and can only be released by chopping her feet off. (They cheated in the movie -- in the story the feet go dancing off in the shoes, but in the movie the shoe-maker takes them off dead Moira Shearer’s feet and mimes them through her steps.) It’s a curse, a punishment for pride and obstinacy.

The health care people say that every night one must wash one’s feet carefully with warm water -- NOT soak them, which I would like to do -- and inspect for small wounds. Any break in the skin must be sterilized and covered with a bandage. And one must wear “cushy” socks. NOT darned socks.

All my socks are darned. Now that I’m old and my circulation isn’t so good (oh, oh) I’ve compromised with life enough to wear socks, but I wear them in slippers and clogs and sometimes just on the floor -- “sock-footin’” -- so they get holes. I’m careful when I darn -- I learned in 4-H sewing how to diligently weave in and out. (I used to know a guy who just ran a thread around the perimeter of the hole and pulled, cinching up a drawstring.)

When I was a young adult in Browning, there was a cabin across the street from the museum -- typical Sixties Moccasin Flats poverty home. I stopped in the door on some errand once. The entire furnishings were a refrigerator with a TV on top and a broken-down ancient sofa. The little boy in that house started out every morning in socks without shoes and by sundown he was only wearing sock cuffs. Everything else had worn away. I don’t know who provided all those socks but no shoes.

Oh, there’s lots more to think about. Army socks, for instance. Luxury socks. Novelty socks with individual toes. My policy is to buy maybe 20 pairs, all exactly the same. That way when one goes missing, it’s not a catastrophe. Once I was in the laundromat where a lady had done that: her socks were from Hanes with pink toes and heels. She had rolled them up in pairs and they looked like little pink bunnies tumbling around the folding table.

The hardest part of the foot care regime is clipping toenails. I’ve almost lost enough weight to get at the right foot, but I still can’t quite get a good grip on the left foot. What does it mean? Am I losing more weight on one side? Are there more organs on one side? What’s in there on the left side anyway? This is the part where you need a foot buddy -- both to swap foot care and to provide reassurances.

To bring this full circle, let me say that I’ve lost about as much weight as I can by merely dieting. But spring in Montana means that it’s not always good enough weather to walk far enough to wear off pounds. So my solution is to play music and do a little “bare-footin’.” I wouldn’t want to dance in public, but here on my rugs (I love my rugs, soft patterns of pale blue and gold and russet!) I can cut loose as much as I like. And since I’m not wearing red shoes, I don’t have to worry about my feet waltzing off without me.

2 comments:

annag said...

I'm a bare-footin' girl from way back -- my mom had a hard time getting me to wear shoes when I was a kid. I still run around in socks as much as possible... especially soft, cushy socks!
I love my socks from New Zealand... they don't bind, and are so soft I wear them all night. Bought some for my Mom and a friend with diabetes, too. I know you can get them at www.birdsongtrading.com
Hope that helps! Ann Morgan

annag said...

I'm a bare-footin' girl from way back -- my mom had a hard time getting me to wear shoes when I was a kid. I still run around in socks as much as possible... especially soft, cushy socks!
I love my socks from New Zealand... they don't bind, and are so soft I wear them all night. Bought some for my Mom and a friend with diabetes, too. I know you can get them at www.birdsongtrading.com
Hope that helps! Ann Morgan