Never Skimp on Rubber Boots
if you want to survive the soggy season.
I grew up in suburbia. Until I moved to the rural world, it never occurred to me that suburbs are specifically designed to avoid puddling. Sidewalks, manicured lawns covered in thick carpets of zoysia grass, gutters run into underground drainage systems, strategic ground inclines, and water management.
Not to say that puddles didn’t happen. From Kindergarten until I got my driver’s license, I walked half the loop that was our neighborhood to the local elementary school, where K-2 attended, and 3-12 caught the bus. There weren’t any sidewalks in our neighborhood, but there wasn’t much traffic either. And of course, there were low spots in the concrete here and there.
I grew up with puddles on pavement. No mud involved.
My mother would waterproof me with my yellow raincoat and rubber rainboots and send me on my way, with orders to avoid puddles on my way to school. Of course, as a child, I saw my waterproofing as permission to stomp directly through every puddle I encountered. As soon as I was out of sight of the side door window of our house (and Mother’s eyes) I attacked puddles instead of avoiding them.
Of course, back then, I didn’t realize Mother was on the phone with Chloe (up the street), who watched me every morning from the moment I left Mother’s sight until I rounded the bend near the school. After school, Mother would chastise me for it (though I’m sure she and Chloe laughed about it that morning) and for a good long while, I believed she had a magical mother’s vision that could watch me all the way to school.
And, for a good long while, she let me believe it.
Besides, it wasn’t like I was wallowing in the mud. Suburban puddles hold fresh, clear water, and come and go quickly. I had my cute little rain boots, and with them, I could happily splash through the world.
Country puddles here are not the same.
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When I first moved to central West Virginia (I transferred to GSU as a junior), I met red clay mud. Even in my youth, visiting rural generations in our family, I had yet to encounter anything like it. And for a region mostly made up of it, I had the wrong car (Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale), and all the wrong shoes.
“Okay,” I thought. “I need rubber boots.”
The next time I hit Wally World, I grabbed a pair of cute little rainboots covered in colorful umbrellas. You know, the thin rubber, no traction, fashionable boots. I also bought a skimpy little pair of rubber garden clogs.
It’s almost laughable now that I thought such flimsy footwear would suffice.
Country puddles are mud puddles. Even if the water is crystal clear, there’s no telling how squishy the earth is beneath it. And, what exactly, lurks in that mud? Rusty nails, ancient aluminum pull tabs, turtles, giant oil-pan punching rocks, flesh-eating fungi. Who knows?
This is not an environment for cheap, flimsy rain boots.
I lost count of how many cute rubber boots and garden clogs I tried to patch pin holes in before I got the point.
Never skimp on mud wear.
So, if you’re looking for the perfect red clay mud footwear, consider the following:
Will they stay on your feet? Many a time I have walked right out of my skimpy garden clogs, to the point where, if it’s really muddy, I just leave them at the garden gate and wallow through the garden barefoot. I have also stepped out of unlined rubber boots several times. There’s nothing like standing on one foot in a mud hole, trying to reach a boot behind you without falling over.
Do they have traction? If the bottom of the boots/clogs is fairly smooth, you’re setting yourself up for an inevitable slip and fall. And it will likely come when you have your hands full, and someone is watching.
Are they sturdy? It only takes a small pinhole to render mud wear pointless. One minute your feet are warm and dry, and then the next, you feel your socks absorbing a wet cold. All it takes is a sturdy thorn, a fleck of glass, or a sharp stick, and you’re done.
I’m not going to recommend brands or provide any affiliate links to my Amazon account. But I will tell you, good mud wear ain’t cheap. It’s an investment.
And around here, one certainly worthwhile.
Have you visited Two-Lane Renaissance online lately?
Paid subscribers now have access to monthly pdf copies of Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine files. We have started at the magazine’s beginning, and have ten years’ worth to present online — one each month. Because the content is educational and timeless, the articles within are still relevant — some even more so today. If you would like full access, simply upgrade your free subscription.
For free readers, Robin has presented a lesson on Peter (Part 1 & Part 2). She’s been looking at Biblical characters who experienced things that made them feel God abandoned them, or committed a sin so heinous that they felt they could not be forgiven. Or, that would be hard for US to forgive.
I have recently been reconnecting with nature, and in “A Standing Date with Dusk,” I examine and share my belief that nature can be healing. And, February being a reflective time of year, discuss the benefits of reflective thinking. And, because the pandemic has presented a cultural time of trauma and stress, suggest managing our anxiety with conscious breathing.
Upcoming posts include “One Woman’s Midlife Crisis is Another Woman’s Career Goal,” and “The Soothing Sounds of Silence.”
Folks who “don’t do the internet” can also read my pieces in The Trader’s Guide.
Speaking of upcoming…
I will be serving as an intern with books available for sale at the West Virginia Writers, Inc. annual conference at Cedar Lakes, June 9-11. #wvwriters
In addition, I have been accepted as a vendor at the 3rd annual Richwood Art Walk on October 14. #artwalkrichwood
I will also be set up at the WV Folk Fest this year, June 15-18. #wvfolkfest I don’t quite have all the details yet, but will share as they develop.