One morning before school, a slithering creature used my shoes as a shelter, then decided to bite me when I made claim to them.
During childhood, most of us were lucky to have one pair of shoes.
I know of many kids who walked several miles to school each day — bare feet!
Altogether we walked four times. Going in the morning, back home for lunch, then back for the afternoon session and finally home = 4x.
If you were unlucky after the school day ended, you were sent to the store which was about half a mile from the school, so add another 2x to the journey — all on bare feet.
Luckily for me, this was not my lot, but for many others, this was their norm.
Poverty is a sad reality for so many when the elite of this world have so much.
We were all thought to care for our belongings. There were no constant shopping trips. Many of our clothes were made by our parents using other gently worn clothes.
Each Saturday morning, before the sun rose, kids were awakened to perform their chores.
One major chore included washing your canvas shoes and hanging them out to dry.
Procrastination has always been my sparring partner, so of course, I waited to clean my shoes on a Sunday evening.
Being late I hung it outdoors on the fence as was common back then. In so doing I hoped it would be dry come early Monday morning for school.
Monday arrived and I got dressed for school.
We never wore shoes in the house, so the last thing you would put on was your shoes. I approached the fence, sat on the second to last rung of the stairs, and proceed to wear and lace my canvas shoes.
In those days, most of our items of clothing came from England. As a former British Colony, Guyana maintained ties with the British for a long time. As such many of our foods, clothing, and mannerisms were born in that time period and some are dutifully maintained to this day.
The canvas shoes commonly called “yachtings” came in one of two ways. Hi-tops, or lo-tops.
For some reason, I favored the hi-tops and still do to this day.
So, on this fateful morning, I sat low on the stairs and began the arduous task of lacking up my hi-tops.
Once done, I stood up and it must have been when the creature trapped inside began frantically trying to escape.
It began mercilessly biting the toes on my left foot.
Recall that I had laced them hi-tops and double-tied the bow for added security during the anticipated schoolyard play.
I began screaming and creating a raucous in the still morning air, while vigorously kicking my feet in an attempt to put an end to the torturous biting while trying vainly to remove the offending shoe.
That of course could not be accomplished as the canvas hi-tops were secured with the tenacity of a child who intended to run and play.
By this time many heads appeared outside their window while kids on their way to school who passed my house stopped to enjoy the spectacle.
My grandmother and one of my aunts came out to restrain me while they attempted to remove the offending shoe.
Finally, the shoe was off, and the brown centipede slithered free after delivering several vicious bites in its attempt to evacuate.
My foot once removed from its confines quickly became swollen and I was let off school for the day.
My grandmother treated it with one of her home remedies and all was soon well again.
I should mention that I was the butt of some good-natured schoolyard ribbing for a time until the next even which of course was never too far off.
Procrastination can lead to painful unintended consequences.
Had I washed my shoes on Saturday as was the practice, I would have had ample time to get them ready, shake them out thoroughly, and take them indoors as we were taught to do then lace them up in anticipation for Monday.
If you let the excitement of play and laziness get the better of you, like me, you may be forced to learn a bitter but necessary lesson.
Anything worth doing should be done right the first time.
Do it right the first time.
Do share a time you procrastinated and the lesson you learned.
Pene Hodge is a mom, a nurse, and a writer. She writes because she must. She loves people and is committed to sharing and gleaning knowledge for the betterment of all.