In praise of feet

These feet are made for walking

Seeing the circle of hands on Hand in Glove yesterday got me thinking about feet and what they do for us. They take us through life for better for worse. These long-suffering (in my case) appendages have to carry the load at whatever size it becomes and to wherever it want to go. The load starts small, as do our feet, but can become disproportionately large over the years. And our feet – well they just have to adapt.

My feet, one in particular, have given me grief for years. If they weren’t seizing up with cramp on the starting block at swimming carnivals, they were crying out in agony as I squeezed them into regulation school shoes that just weren’t designed for my jolly good grip on the earth feet. Then in my tweens, one of them – the right one, was badly burned when swamped by a whole bucket of boiling water  at a guide camp. I remember the bandages and the pain with the daily dressing. Horrible crepe bandages with some kind of thick yellowy cream.

My feet had a wonderful time learning adult ballet with Galina Wassiliewa in the late 70’s. They were never so happy as when they were taking flight across the dance floor, trying to perform elegant pirouettes, glisses … they had found their niche. And they looked so pretty in pointe shoes. “You should have been a ballet dancer,” said Galina “you have perfect turn-out.” However, like regulation school shoes, pointe shoes were not designed for the broad of foot. So my dreams of taking to the stage as an adult ‘find’ were quashed!

At the tender age of 23, my poor right foot went under the knife. A triangular divit of bone was removed from the right big toe joint (bunion) and I spent the next six weeks hobbling around on crutches – getting to and from work at the television studios in Avalon in whatever mode of transport I could find.

The operation was a success and for the last X number of years my feet have been exemplary friends. OK – I’ve shied away from strappy shoes because of the scar over my bone – but that’s all. They’ve carried me through preganancies, on overseas trips, walking miles over all sorts of terrain, they’ve had pleasure on the dance floor, and kept a firm grip on the concert floor during many choral performances. They’ve been good to me.

That is, up until now. Last October (2008 that is), my beloved right foot spat the dummy so to speak! It’s wanting special care and attention. It doesn’t want to be constrained in elegant shoes any longer. It wants Kumpfs…but no – I’ve resisted them. Ignore the podiatrist, whose wife ignores him too, ignore the pain, work through it. Pace yourself I say…flat shoes one day, less-flat the next. Elegant ones only for special occasions. Keep room around my toes. Take all the hems up on my trousers…

Last week my poor feet got a hammering. They had to squeeze into beautiful evening shoes on several occasions. At one, we were lined up in the music room at  St Gerard’s Monastery rehearsing for our choir fundraising gig. I saw some of the altos giggling and pointing at our feet. When I raised my brow in quizzical manner, they answer came back…”we’re just admiring your (plural) shoes and wishing we could wear something other than our kumpfs.” A whole long line of kumpfs (altos) on one side versus a line of elegant evening shoes (sopranos) on the other. And they burst out laughing.

They really did have the last laugh – my feet were in agony. The cost of vanity!!!


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