It seemed almost criminal to put on a pair of brand-new, shiny shoes and wear them down to the barn first thing. Growing up in the war years of the 1940s with parents who had come through the Great Depression, I was taught that new shoes were to be cherished (unless they were the dreaded Buster Brown brown oxfords that I hated). When I was a kid, all shoes were made of real leather and that was a commodity that was rationed to make shoes and boots for the servicemen and women during WWII; so many things were. Old school shoes became play shoes, regardless that they were too small by then. How many times did I hear, "Don't scuff your shoes!" or "Don't drag your toes," probably when I was wearing the oxfords and hoping to wear them out fast. My dad was somewhat of a dandy, always dressed to the nines with a pocket handkerchief that matched his tie and shoes so shiny you could see your face. When he would take me downtown (in our tiny little town), we would go to the shoeshine stand on the sidewalk, sit in the high chairs, and the man would polish our shoes. I thought that was so cool. It was undoubtedly those blasted brown oxfords that gave me my passion for high heels (which I was not allowed to wear until I was fifteen). I still have a box in my closet with twenty or so pairs of high heels that I will never wear again but am unable to throw out. I'm having trouble throwing away the old barn shoes that are cracked and split and unwearable. I didn't realize how uncomfortable they'd become until I put on the new pair, but haven't been able to put them in the trash bin yet.
The grass was high and wet, the barn had the usual doodah, the chicken pen full of droppings, and the new shoes aren't shiny anymore. Oh well, I've still got a pair of go-to-town shoes in the closet.