Barefootin’ It (Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)

The tornado siren was wailing, and I had bare feet.

Back then, my feet were small, smooth and soft — baby feet. Baby feet, yet tough feet. We spent all summer running around outside in our bare feet. My big toe has a long, white scar across the top from when I rode my bike with bare feet. My parents enacted a new rule that day: No bike riding with bare feet. The hot sun would make the blacktop roads bubble with tar. We would run across the road on tiptoes, as quickly as we could, but our feet would still get marked. My sister and I would sit in the bathtub, scrubbing those black tar circles on our bare feet in vain. Once my sister stepped on a bee in her bare feet, and the bee did not care for being stepped on. He left his stinger as a little souvenir in her foot that day.

It was summertime in Des Moines, Iowa, and so I had bare feet. My sister and I were with my aunt when the sirens began their urgent warning. My aunt grabbed my sister with her left hand, me with her right, and we began to ran. It wasn’t raining, but the sky was that terrible yellow-greenish color. I looked down at my feet, and saw mud squish between my toes as I ran through a mud puddle. We made it to the neighbor’s basement, the threat of a tornado passed, and summer continued.

That memory of mud surrounding my big toe is clear in my memory, but the other details are foggy. Did my aunt live in her apartment back then? Were we closer to the neighbor’s house? Where were my parents?

My feet are bigger now, cracked and rough and calloused; toughened by years of running around in my bare feet. I look with envy at my daughters’ feet. Small, smooth, and soft — baby feet.

Mama's Losin' It


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17 Replies to “Barefootin’ It (Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)”

  1. I wish I could write like that! A lovely story. And I've never been known to run around in bare feet: it always hurt to walk along those pebbles…

  2. I remember summers like that. I used to go bare foot all the time when I was a kid and I totally have the rough feet to prove it.

  3. Great story!!! I LOVE being barefoot in the mud!Our clawfoot tub IS cast iron. It sat in the garage for ages before my parents had it refinished so that it was smooth and white. Love you Ginny! I've missed you!

  4. wow, you really brought me back in time. i wonder what it's like to be hit by a tornado. i live in the philippines, and it's something we dont have…yet. i'm sure it's scary.visiting from mama kat's 🙂

  5. I can relate to spending my childhood barefoot. I don't know why I felt the need to torture myself on the boiling hot asphalt every summer. But now that I have kids of my own I'm guessing that it was because I could never find my shoes. Great post.

  6. I remember it being easier for me to run barefoot. My feet are too sensitive now. Whoosy feet…lol!Great story! Stopping in from Mama Kat's!

  7. I was always barefoot and I still go barefoot all the time. The feet are not very pretty anymore.

  8. That was a great post! I liked how it was serious and sweet, all in one. Isn't it crazy to think how things come full-circle?!

  9. Wow, it's funny what details stick out from stories like that. I had those same hardened black feet from running around on the hot Florida pavement. Still do.

  10. Awesome. I can actually see you guys running in slow motion with your little foot splashing in that puddle. Good job.

  11. What a great perspective for that story!! I can just see you all running for the basement!I remember being barefoot all the time when I was a kid and usually am at home now too!

  12. Your writing really puts the reader in the moment! Nice work! I'd love to participate in a group like this – once I carve out a little more time for writing!

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