About April or May, I would start “going barefoot”. The weather was warm and sometimes hot by then and having no shoes on helped us to stay a little cooler and I have always enjoyed the feel of different textures on the soles of my feet. Once I started, I wore shoes only on special occasions. The bottoms of my feet would get so calloused that I could run on gravel and not get bruised.
Early one summer (I thought summer started around the end of April because of the heat) a friend and I decided to walk the railroad tracks to a small creek. At that time a creek that small we called a branch. We had already started “going barefoot” but our feet weren’t as tough as they would get later in the summer. In walking railroad tracks there are two surfaces that are reasonable to walk on. One surface is the cross ties that the rails are on. The other is the rock that is between the cross ties. Being barefoot and our feet not calloused, we walked on the creosoted cross ties. We had a nice walk to the creek and enjoyed our stay there, but by the time we made it back to the house the soles of our feet were burning. We had chemical burns the soles of our feet from walking on the creosote. I have had my skin burned by the sun many times in my life, but that is the only time the soles of my feet have been burned.
We didn’t start school until sometime in the middle of September and we got out sometime in April through the fourth or fifth grade. We went only eight months out of the year so the children could help their parents with the farm crops. For the first and last part of the school year we were allowed to attend school “barefoot”. It was nice feeling the dusty ground and grass with the soles of my feet as we ran around the play ground.
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