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,
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.