When I was a kid, the long months of summer stretched by without the need for shoes. We would peel them off on the last day of school and cast them into the closet.
All summer long, we would run around in bare feet on springy grass, through pillows of garden dirt, over sharp sticks in the bush, even across nubby gravel roads or down the melting asphalt of the highway. We’d slide across slippery rocks in the creek and climb trees by gripping like monkeys with our toes. Our feet became shoes themselves, hardened and able to resist any kind of puncture short of stepping on a nail.