Some Shoes, a Snake, and a Straw

A local newspaper writer invited readers to accept a challenge to write a story (though I chose a rhyming form) using a shoe, a snake, and a straw. This is what I came up with, which to my delight and surprise, he chose for publication! I offer it here in response to the Color by Words blog story challenge.

I was 8 years old, ’bout 3rd 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, 

It was

Anticipation 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, 

– Maybe –

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,

– Say I –

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

– That’s right –

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

But his words were sarcastic and quipped

– They were –

Words all sounding 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

– Oh, man! –

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.”

– It did –

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?

– Why not –

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!

– I do –

Still remember their feel, what is more.)

So, grown-ups, 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

– Please don’t –

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

– They need –

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

– I am –

A once-kid in a person now grown.


3 thoughts on “Some Shoes, a Snake, and a Straw

    1. I couldn’t be more pleased for your singsongy additions and that it catalyzed such a response (I will be trying it this way soon, thank you very much). Yay, happy!

      Liked by 1 person

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