Friday, February 17, 2012

The Stones Get Softer Every Day

In summer 1963 Ted and I were sent off to Milan, Quebec, to spend a good part of our summer vacation alone with our maternal grandparents. During our memorable visit, Ted and I decided that we would try to go barefoot entirely and live our days as country people. What we did not realize then was that Milan was not in the rural countryside, it was in the wilderness.

Anyway, living barefoot worked well as long as there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. If there was somewhere we had to go, usually there was grass to walk on...but not always. When we were sent on errands to McLeod’s store or the post office we discovered that crossing the railway track to reach our destination was torture. 

When the time came that we finally had to go into the barn, Ted and I then altered our unwritten rules to permit the wearing of shoes. After all, knowing well what cattle could leave behind from their behinds, who wanted to walk barefoot in the barn? 

A few days later, and perhaps a smidgen wiser, we gave up our attempt to live life in the barefoot lane. Not only were the bottoms of our feet stained dirt-brown and almost impossible to wash clean, the stones, no matter how round or smooth they may have been, were unmitigated pain to step on unexpectedly.

When we finally asked one of the locals who lived barefoot all the time how it was possible, the answer given was, “You get used to it. The stones get softer every day.”

Do the stones get softer every day?


I do not believe this for a minute, because to this day, my feet have yet to find the hard way a soft stone.

 March 1992
The Oddblock Station Agent

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