A couple weeks ago, a reader challenged me to write a column tying together a shoe sale, a snake and a straw. So I did. Then I threw down the gauntlet for other readers.
Lo, behold and happy week off, Amy Johnson, a mother of five from Farmdale, did. And she adds class to this space by writing in verse.
Take it away, Amy!
I was 8 years old, 'bout third grade, you see,
When I walked in the store that day.
My Mom was ho-hum
But I was a-thrum
Anticipation held all out at bay,
Anticipation being held all at bay.
(For you can't very well
As a kid just let tell
of the thrill that is buying new shoes;
They make you jump higher, look cooler, run faster
If you're shy, bring you outta your shell,
If you're shy bring you outta your shell.)
So I sauntered real cool
As I eyed up the stool
Where decisions'd be made that would count
Like a beacon of light
The stool shone all aright
My innards a veritable fount,
Of excitement a veritable fount.
Too excited to talk
Real deliberate I walked
To the shoes that lined new on the wall
That's when he came in
Kinda tall, kinda thin
Glasses and ponytail donned, I recall
A gray ponytail donned, I recall.
"Can I help you?" he asked
With a smirk that was masked
'Neath a straw that he held 'tween his lips
He chewed it all 'round
It made nary a sound
His words were sarcastic and quipped
Words that sounded sarcastic and quipped.
So onward I went
Tentative though not spent
From my search for the perfect new shoes
Saw a blue and white pair
On their own little stair
Couldn't wait to see what they could do
Couldn't wait to see what they could do.
But this salesman, this guy
No matter how hard I tried
Wouldn't let me get outta my head
Condescending and mean
In his eye a deep gleam
That said, "Don't make a mistake, little girl"
Say, "Don't make a mistake, little girl."
How dare he, this guy,
Come in here and try
To thwart the bliss of my getting new shoes!
Did he not think
That his straw, smirk, and wink
Were the bane of a kid's ability to choose?
Know you're the bane of a kid trying to choose?
Well I'm happy to say
That I bought shoes that day
In spite of that guy at the store.
(They were a bright white
With blue stripes that were light
I still remember the feel, what is more!
Still remember their feel, what is more.)
So, grownups, please know
As the young ones who grow
In your presence are trying things out
Don't make them feel small
Condescend them at all
Or arrogantly throw 'round your clout
Take advantage of all your (old) clout.
Else they'll think you a snake
Meany, phony, or fake
As they discern whether fight or just hide
So please watch your tone
Get way down off your throne
Let them know you're a guy on their side
You to really just be on their side.
So that is my take
On the shoes, straw, and snake
From the gauntlet and challenge so thrown.
Robert Frost I am not
Just a dried up old snot
A once-kid in a person now grown
A once-kid in a person now grown.
- Amy Johnson
Cole's latest book, ''Bash and the Chicken Coop Caper,'' releases May 1 from B&H Kids. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.