That's how you will generally find me: barefoot. Although in winter, I usually wear Cliff's cast-off socks to keep my feet warm in the house. As long as I can remember, I have only worn shoes when it's absolutely necessary. I have short Muck boots and tall Muck boots, and in inclement weather I slip my bare or stockinged feet into those when I'm going outside.
I look at my baby pictures and see that I always had shoes on, but that's most likely because I wasn't big enough to remove them from my feet myself.
I stepped on so many nails and so much broken glass as a kid that it has to be only the grace of God that kept me from dying of lockjaw, because I sure never went to the doctor for a tetanus shot. In fact, I never once had stitches as a kid. My mom would just bind a wound together with adhesive tape (which she actually thought had healing powers), saying, "It'll be OK, it bled good."
Keep in mind that until I was twelve years old, we didn't have running water. There was always a bucket of water in the kitchen, though, and a wash pan to put some of that water in when a person needed to wash her hands or face.
But as far as I recall, my mother never made me wash my feet before I went to bed. And believe me, my feet got plenty dirty. It was only when I spent a night with Grandma that I washed my feet at bedtime: she made a point of taking her shoes off, putting the wash pan with water in it on the floor of the back porch, and washing her feet. Then she would tell me it was my turn. It's only in the last few years I've realized that Grandma's feet weren't dirty. She wore shoes all the time. But my feet had been everywhere: out in the cow pasture, in the hen house, up and down the gravel road. Even these days, by the time we are a month into summer, the soles of my feet are stained black. The only time they look clean is when I walk through wet grass, which cleans feet better than any kind of soap and water. So looking back, Grandma was, in her subtle way, getting me to wash my feet without actually ordering me to do it.
There was a time before I ever dated Cliff that I stayed at his parents' house from time to time. I worked with the older of his two sisters and often spent the night with her. His younger sister, Charlene, was seven years old at the time; she and I got along very well. Cliff's mom was a fanatic about her clothes being clean and bright, but she didn't know how it would go over if she told me to wash my feet. So she had Charlene tell me I should wash my feet before I went to bed. Folks, I was twenty years old at the time, living on my own, and it still had never occurred to me to wash my dirty feet before I went to bed! Although by this time, of course, it was a simple matter to take a bath or shower, so my feet would usually get clean in the process of bathing. But if I waited until morning to shower, or if I showered early in the evening and went back outside, of course the feet were dirty at bedtime.
When I think about all the relatives whose sheets were probably stained by my dirty feet, I wonder if I was the talk of the family. They probably had to use extra bleach on the whites after I went home.
On a side note, Cliff and I had been married a year when we went to one of my mom's family gatherings at Uncle Carl's. As soon as we arrived, I slipped my shoes off and put them by the doorway and Aunt Bernice, perplexed, asked, "Why don't you wear your shoes?"
It seemed a ridiculous question to me, but I realize now that most adults don't remove their shoes at a family gathering.
Oh well. I never said I was normal.