April 26, 2014

Barefoot Memories

May is just around the corner and I for one am itching to ditch my shoes and socks and head outside to plant my bare feet on spring's first blades of green, green grass.  And when I do, I will have one foot in the present and the other in the past - to fifty years ago when I was a girl standing barefoot in my backyard in rural Illinois - sublimely happy and tingling from my toes to my nose.

That feeling, that sensation, cannot be described, it can only be experienced. It is about as close to heaven as I can imagine.  Bare feet and fresh spring grass - the perfect combination, no matter my age.

Even so, some aspects of going barefoot have changed for me as I've gone from being a tow-headed farm girl to a gray-haired grandma. I no longer have to beg my mom for permission to go outside without shoes and socks. (A verbal springtime ritual, best summarized with two phrases: "Please, mom" and "Not yet".)  I no longer spend every minute of summer in a barefoot state of being. (I am now content to enjoy a few hours each weekend with my toes exposed to the ground.)  I no longer carefully traverse farm pastures while avoiding barefoot encounters with fresh aromatic cow deposits. (An all-too-common childhood occurrence that made me momentarily consider footwear - or trading our cows for something smaller and less "productive".)  And I no longer wear a badge of honor for being able to walk barefoot down a gravel road without flinching a muscle. (At age 58, all of my body parts have either gone south or soft - as is the case with the bottoms of my tired feet and attached muscles.) My carefree days of leathery soles and barefoot bliss are but sweet (and often, manure-d) memories.

Yes, I still indulge myself and connect the soles of my aging feet to the newness of spring grass. Yes, I still savor the past and present sensations of those heavenly moments. But I am also grateful these days to have several choices of footwear that pamper my half-century-plus feet and make the wearing of such much more pleasant than I remember it being as a child. In fact, at least five days a week, I happily don said shoes and navigate Pullman's streets and avenues (sans cow deposits, thankfully) to go somewhere that is like another bit of heaven to me. It’s our sweet community's gathering place of knowledge, recreation, information, communication and connection. That place is Neill Public Library - YOUR library - where all of us on staff work for you.

We're here to help you find what you need, locate what you want and perhaps, show you some things you didn't know were available. Sometime it's hard to describe what all your library can do for you. It has to be experienced. So, on behalf of the entire staff, I invite you to visit and experience all your library has to offer.  It's the perfect combination - Neill Public Library and you.  Come visit us soon and often. We stand ready to serve you (with our shoes on).    
Kathleen Ahern,
Children's Librarian


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