This week I’ve been dealing with a health challenge, and was not able to get an article ready for today’s blog post. However, I found a whimsical short story I wrote several yeas ago that may give you some chuckles. And, hopefully, you will forgive me for coming up short this week.
MY RENEGADE TOES
For as long as I can remember my little toes have denied their relationship to their eight sisters. But they’re born of the same feet, so they can’t escape their heritage. While the eight march forward with heads straight up, these two turn on their side and point outward from the others. I always felt embarrassed when someone glanced at my strange toes. Those little ones were embarrassed too and searched for a quick escape. But they were dreaming. Unless they get caught in a wild hacksaw, they’re attached for life.
For years we experienced one conflict after another. Cutting those little toenails takes expert wrist manipulation. I have to twist the clippers around and hold the toes while I cut from the side. Until I became adept at this maneuver, I got a lot of flack when I caught some skin in the process. It was only a little skin, but you’d think I actually severed the toes.
Our trips to the shoe store were torture. Those toes objected to everything I put on my feet. I tried strap sandals, but they stuck their heads out between the straps, and then blamed me for their discomfort. But I refused to consider any of those sensible clodhoppers like my mother chose for me when I was growing up. For a couple of years, in defiance, I feigned a smile and sashayed around in my mini skirts and gorgeous black spike-heeled shoes with pointed toes. But I had to relent and give up my beautiful stylish footwear. I could no longer tolerate my little toes’ suffering.
I tried going barefoot at home to give them a rest, but they experienced painful injuries before I learned to send out invisible antennae when passing a protruding chair leg or some lethal weapon that might catch one of them in midair. Each time they got caught, they yelled all the way up my leg. It took an ice bag to quiet them down. Once I tried nail polish to improve their mood, but they sabotaged that project. In no time they were scratched and half-naked while the others stayed a bright color. I just couldn’t please those guys. (girls?)
I was at a loss to find a mutually agreeable remedy for our unhappy relationship until fate brought a blessing into our life that changed us forever. A few years ago, I was in a serious car wreck, and I spent two months in a residential rehab facility. Soon after I arrived, a nice aide put lotion on my foot–the other foot was in a cast. That gesture sent me half way to heaven, but what he said sent me the rest of the way there.
“You have such nice feet,” he said. “Many people’s feet are really messed up.”
Wow. Either he didn’t notice that little toe sticking out, or he felt with a toe like mine, I deserved a kind word about my feet. Either way, I loved him for the compliment. After that, lying in bed with broken bones wasn’t so awful. And my little toes took on a new character. I often looked down at one toe enjoying the freedom to lie quietly in painless repose, and the other toe safely wrapped in the cast on my foot. And I realized those little toes were not a separate entity infringing on my life. They were a part of me, as important as any other. And I was grateful all of me was still intact.
When I recovered from my ordeal, I gave up my need for style and headed straight to the shoe department I had so often avoided. My little toes were thrilled when they saw where I had taken them. In no time, we walked out in a pair of sensible brown mud-walking shoes, and I could hear my toes giggling with pure delight.
I guess the secret to a happy life for me and my renegade toes rests with my choice of footwear. And you know what? It feels good to have all of us happy.
I wish you happy feet and a happy heart.
My heart, sympathy, thoughts, and prayers to all the families who lost loved ones in Orlando, FL.
Marilyn Fowler, Author
Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Now on Amazon.
( click book to Amazon)