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Stories

Two Good Shoes
By:

I.

“David Lee!”
When I heard that shout
I shrank inside myself.
My mother’s voice
Along with choice
Of name for me
Spelled out
That I’d been bad
And she was made.
I felt so small
Not like a David Lee at all
But like a frightened baby.
I wanted Mom to hold me close
And call me little Davey.
But this is what she said:
“Come here, young man!”
I followed her command
With heavy heart and hanging head.

“And what is this?” she asked.
I wanted to explain
That I hadn’t meant
To smear the honey on the floor
And on the kitchen door—
It was an accident!

“David Lee,
Knock off those sighs
And look, please, in my eyes.
You keep on staring at your feet!
It makes me think that you refuse
To talk to me
And choose,
Instead,
Your shoes.”

“Of course!
No wonder!”

Who said that? I didn’t know the source,
But the softness of the tone
Was quite unlike the thunder
Of the anger Mom had shown.

Mom sent me to my room.
I turned on every light
And chased the gloom
Of night
Into a corner.
“Much better,” gently purred
The same familiar tone;
“It’s brighter now, and warmer.”
I slowly peered around,
But I saw no one there.
I glimpsed up
And glanced down,
Then quit looking for clues,
For what I had heard
Plainly came from my shoes!

Some shoes only walk
But my shoes walked
And talked,
And what fantastic friends we soon became!
That night I showed them everything:
My favorite checkers game,
My purple plastic ring,
My lordly rubber lizards,
And my shiny silver scissors.
They loved my books and wooden case,
And how they oohed and aahed
When they gazed upon my squad
Of trucks, and cars,
And ships from outer space!

“And now,” at last they said,
“You’d best prepare for bed,
So get undressed and brush your teeth,
And give your mom and dad a hug.”

I did as they advised,
And, wow, were Dad and Mom surprised
That I had brushed my teeth
All on my own.

Mom tucked me in and kissed me,
Then turned the light
Down low. “Sleep tight,
My precious Davey, my little doodlebug!”

I murmured in content reply.
My shoes made not a sound,
And this is why…
They talked to no one else, just me,
And only
Then at certain times,
When I was lonely
Or was sad
Or scared.

II.

Since Billy lived right down the street,
We always went to school together.
I really can’t say whether
Billy
Ever know the truth
About the bougainvillea.
It stood midway along the route
Between our houses and our school.
It towered over us and
Flowered in cerise
And attracted, like a magnet,
Swarms of bumble bees.
We had to pass the bougainvillea—
There was no other way—
And I would also guarantee
That Billy
Stood
Between that bush and me.

My two good shoes and I
Had been talking on the sly
About a month or so
When Billy pulled a low
Trick.
He got sick.
And that left me to go to school
All…
By…
Myself…

I swallowed hard
And set out o my way.
The bush loomed up ahead
Like a dark green dragon dressed in red
And I could hear—
Loud and clear—
The zoom and whizzing
Of those
Bees.
I froze
Right in my tracks.
“Relax,”
My shoes called up to me;
“All you have to do is push
A bit
And get yourself beyond the bush.”

“I can’t,” I whispered back.
“The bees will sting me.”

“Oh, no. they’re easy to outwit.
Just move along with even pace,
And if a bee flies up to you,
Don’t wave your hands about your face
Or otherwise confuse
Him. A bee is nature’s
Famed collector
Of a blossom’s golden nectar.
He soon will figure out
That you have none
And he’ll go somewhere else to scout.”

My two good shoes
Kept telling me
That I could do it.
I took one step
And then another,
But suddenly
A brazen bee
Flew straight at me!
It brushed a breeze
That blew on me,
It jigged and jagged
And zigged and zagged
And hummed its buzz
Right in my ear.
My mouth felt dry
And full of fuzz
A frightful, dreadful taste!

But I kept my hands down by my waist
And told myself to hold them still.
I moved ahead.
My steps were slow and steady,
And before I even knew it,
I’d left the bush and bees behind.

When I came home from school that day
My mom was in the kitchen, fixing me
A honey sandwich.
“Hello, there, Davey! How was school?
Is everything okay?
“Well, yes,” I said,
“Except my shoes feel tight.”
“Are they too small?
You’re growing babe—
You look so tall!”
“I guess you’re right,
And, Mom…
Would you please call
Me
Dave.”


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