So this morning I took one little to preschool and the other little and I went to visit my mom who just came back from visiting my aunt in WI. We had a lovely time visiting and my aunt graciously sent some old cookbooks with my mom for me so I was lost in them for most of the morning. After I made another trip to retrieve the first little from school mom made lunch and then we went down to the creek that runs just a mile from her home.
The girls wanted to float milkweed pods in the water. They like to call them boats. Mom was looking for a monarch chrysalis. She wants to have one for the kids to watch hatch. The girls took turns tossing pods and then rocks when they had thrown all the pods their short arms could reach from the gravel road.
I was kneeling at the bridge. My mind was filled with the memories of all the times,as a child,that I had done the exact same thing as my little girls. I thought about trying to find huge rocks that kerplunked into the muddy river. I remembered, when the water was really low, finding shells. Last summer my son and oldest daughter found a ton of them and brought them to mom's in a bucket that, in a short few hours, filled the garage with the stench of rotting sea food.
It seems odd how small that part of the world is. It sure seemed so much bigger when I was little. Still, something so large in my memory had all but been forgotten. How could I forget about such an amazing little place?
Nora, while tossing fists full of sand into the water, slipped on the gravel and lost her pink flip flop on the bridge. She cried, "My shoe, my shoe..." and watched it float quickly upriver where a herd of cattle were enjoying a cool drink. She was crushed. They were her favorite shoes, her only pair of flip flops. I tried to assure her that the weather was cooling, her feet were growing and soon we would have retired the shoes. Alas,she was traumatized. It was too much for her to see that tiny shoe drifting far, far, away.
Again my brain flooded with memories of the time my sister and I lost a pole in the water. I am sure there were many more times similar to it. I could almost feel the thick mud on my legs and my feet as we swam to find the pole.
Today the creek is surrounded by electric fence. A barrier crosses under the bridge so the cattle cannot cross under it. The ditch was overgrown with weeds as tall as me. My mother and I both contemplated going down to the water with a long branch to try and stop the runaway shoe but quickly decided it wasn't worth the trouble.
Nora, however, cried all the way home. When we came upon five lost cattle she slowed her sobs down just a bit and she did only sniffle while she watched the young calf trot alongside his mother looking for a break in the thick reeds. They eventually galloped into an approach near an old shed. Then Nora's face contorted into a painful look as she cried, "I want my other pink shoe!"
As we were leaving my mom's I asked Nora if we should just leave the unlost shoe at Grandma's, since one shoe is not of much use to a person who has two feet. She hesitantly slid her little foot out of the slipper and handed it to me. Her face wrinkled up and she told grandma to throw it away. Then she reminded me that NEXT time she goes the creek she should wear tennis shoes.
On the drive home, Addi suggested that we call the "cops" and tell them that Nora lost her shoe in the creek. Because, she said, "Cops are very good at helping people with problems." I mentioned that they were probably busy helping other people today. Nora chimed in and thought that maybe a daddy had lost a boot and needed it found so he could work and since her shoe was so small the "cops" should concentrate on finding the boot for the daddy first, and besides her shoe was all wet now and she wouldn't be able to wear it.
Then the conversation was not about shoes for a while until I put her down for a rest. "Mommy, can we go shopping for some new pink flip flops when I wake up?" Sniff, sniff, sniffle.
Don't mess with a girl and her shoes.