When you begin working day long in your garden, or, work retail, any kind of retail, clothes, shoes, garden supplies, books, used cars, you name it, you quickly come to realize that what the job entails is not necessarily brain power or upper body strength, mechanical know how or even witty customer service.
What the job entails is walking.
A lot of walking.
Like 17-20 THOUSAND steps.
And, then, at the store, there is a lot of standing on concrete floors and smiling while your back, hips and knees are screaming an aria from "Il Trovatore" because of something they haven't done in 45 years -- namely, walk and stand on concrete floors.
In the garden, I'm either balancing precariously on a 4 in edge, while my ankles decide whether to hold together or go into full release, while, in the dirt, soft, safe dirt, those same ankles are wondering if they'll ever find a balance point on the uneven ground again. There it is! No, lost it. There! No. There ...
My mother, a lovely woman of rather parsimonious habits when it came to buying shoes for me, often bought shoes at rummage sales. She'd hold them upside down against my feet, and, no matter how much meat was hanging over the sides, pronounce it a good fit and jam my feet into the things. I can barely walk now, thanks to those rummage sale shoes.
(It was the Methodist Rummage sales, I tell you, that did in my feet. I don't have any idea what they had against my metatarsals. The Lutherans, on the other hand, only sold Mom that mold in which she made some mayo, lime Jell-O and tuna fish science experiment in the shape of a trout for our Friday night no-meat dinner.)
Anyway, I blame those shoes for a lifetime of crappy feet and brittle ankles.
(Now that I think about it, playing Paratrooper while jumping off that stump at my Grandmother's house didn't help. It was six feet high and when I hit I rolled both ankles down to the top of the road. I crawled back to my grandmother's house, lay under the rowboat upended in the garage, praying that a bolt of lightning might put me out of my misery.)
Even Sadie Is Ashamed of my Wonky Work Shoes
With that in mind, I used most of the money I'll likely make working in the garden center this summer to buy a pair of good old fashioned work shoes, just like my Daddy always told me to wear.
"Them Jack Purcells will kill your shins, boy! Get 'choo a pair a' Red Wings! Real work shoes! Now, run down to Fred Smoot's and get me another jug!"
He didn't really talk that way.
He did recommend the work shoes.
It was my grandmother who sent me for corn likker at Smoot's place. My mother will say it is "just another one of Greg's stories," while up in heaven, my sainted Aunt Jo will smile with an unspoken knowledge of the true story, which some day, I will be forced to relate.
(Well, it wasn't likker. It was beer. And it wasn't for her, but she got blamed for it, gleefully embracing the snide comments of others as part of her new, tough as nails, I rule the roost reputation.)
Today's Garden Hack: Buy Good Work Shoes for the Job and the Garden -- Even if They Do Look "Wonky."