Today I went slogging through the muddy paths in the woods. It's easy to avoid the mud, but there's something nice about the paths no one else walks on. What a day. So many birds singing, so many choruses all at once. But looking at my shoes afterwards, I was reminded of one of the more embarrassing moments of my childhood . . .
I was in fifth grade, and I had been sent home a few times already for being "out of code"--wearing the wrong clothes. Once I wore shorts under my skirt. Another time I was wearing what my Mom called a shift. It was some kind of dress that didn't shift far enough down my legs. So the day I came in wearing red tennis shoes, the teacher called and asked my mom to bring my brown school shoes. My mom was indignant, but she brought those shoes, all wrapped up in a brown bag. She didn't warn the teacher that I'd worn them to the barn that morning, and they were covered with cow manure.
My mom just smiled when I slid them on and walked into the classroom, leaving a little trail of cow turds as I walked.