Friday, December 28, 2012

The Penny Loafer Story

Every Saturday, we always went to town. The closest town was about 20 miles away, no matter in which direction we traveled. North was the town of Floyd, east was Stuart, south was Mount Airy, and west was Hillsville. To get to Mount Airy or Stuart involved traveling down the mountain, Floyd involved very twisty, narrow roads, so Hillsville is where we typically went for our weekly trips.

So, why did we go to town each week?  The biggest reason was to buy grocery at the IGA or Mick-or-Mack. My mom always visited the beauty shop and I went for piano lessons. We also might make purchases at Nuckolls Drug Store, Gwynn's Department Store, or Gwynn's Hardware.

One Saturday I needed a new pair of shoes, so we visited The Family Shoe Store. It was a shoe paradise!  There were boxes of shoes stacked floor to ceiling, and the ceilings were really high! There were aisles of shoes and boxes of shoes stacked everywhere.  Ahhhh!  The smell of all of that leather!  To this day, anytime that I get a whiff of leather, it whisked me back in time.  I always loved it when I needed a new pair of shoes and I think that my love of shoes today dates back to that time.  I remember looking around at all of the shoes and finally deciding on two or three pairs to try on.  They would get that metal thing to measure my foot and I can remember that it always tickled.

Do you know what this device is called? **

On this particular shoe shopping expedition, I decided that I just HAD to have a pair of penny loafers. They were terribly popular at that time. Since I was an only child, I was around adults more than I was around other children and I had seen many adults wearing penny loafers, so that made me want them that much more.

I was so excited about my shoes that I demanded to wear them home from the store. I remember that when I got home, I was prancing all around the living room showing off my pretty new shoes to daddy.  He was laughing at me and said that they were not real penny loafers until I put pennies in the slot of each shoe. He dug through all of his change until he found two really shiny pennies to give me.

I don't remember what happened later that day, but I was about to get a whipping for doing something that I should not have been doing. If I had to guess, I would be willing to bet that I was asked to do something and I back-talked. (Yes, even as a child, I could be pretty mouthy!) My first reactions when I knew that I was in trouble was always to run! 

At this point, you have to picture our yard in your mind. A little over an acre in size, Highway 58 ran in front of our house. On one side, there was a tall fence that divided our yard from the neighbors. The other two sides were bounded by Tory Creek. Acres and acres of woods were across the creek. I was forbidden to go into the woods.  I guess that mom and dad were afraid that I would slip when crossing the creek and drown.

Back to being in trouble. I was always told that if I ran when I was in trouble, I would get into even more trouble for running.  Well, on this particular day, I was feeling particularly bold, so when daddy got after me to give me that whipping, I ran.  Out of the house and into the backyard.  Straight for the creek. I looked back towards the house and daddy was on his way after me.  Well, I decided that I was going to run into the woods, because I knew that he would have a hard time crossing the creek and finding me in the woods. I need to say at this point that my dad was very unsteady on his feet because he had multiple sclerosis and that was why I knew that if I could only get across the creek, I would be safe from a whipping.  I really don't know what I was thinking, because I was going to have to go back home sooner or later!

Anyway, as daddy got closer, I started crossing the creek, jumping from rock to rock.  He was yelling at me to stop and to not go any further.  By that time, he was really close. I'm sure that you can see what is coming! My foot slipped off of one of the rocks and my foot went right into the creek up to my knee. Then, I lost my balance and stepped into the creek with my other foot. There I was standing knee-deep water. With my new penny loafers. 

Well, due to the original offense of back-talking, then running when a whipping was imminent, trying to go into the woods where I was forbidden to be going, AND ruining a new pair of leather shoes, let's just say that I got a VERY good whipping.

And I deserved every lick!


** Answer:  Brannock Device

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

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