High Heels, Big Cats and the Red Dirt Road
Dress up. Every child loves to put on their mom or dad’s shoes and walk around in them. We have all played dress up when we were younger, even if it was only a princess, fireman, or an evil villain during Halloween. The coats, hats, shoes and sometimes make up would take your imagination to a make-believe world. One of my many favorite pictures of my twins was when they were about 3 years old in their plastic high heels, sequined dresses and plastic make-up and purse. One of my daughters wore those heels more than her regular shoes. The picture of their smiles and bright beautiful eyes I will always hold dear to my heart.
We dress now for our daily lives. The out fit you put on is guided by your career. This I know so well. Being a nurse for 24 years it has been scrubs, occasional business outfits during administration roles, and now shorts and t-shirts, because I work from home. I find the shorts and t-shirt my hardest out fit to put on. Working from home has made me more mindful of my work, thoughts, and the need interact with people. One day as an administrator stands out all too well for me with high heels. We were in contract negotiations with a large hospital. Me, my administrator assistant, and DON dressed professional that day and walked to the meeting looking sharp. Guess what day it was? Ugh casual Friday- blue jeans and tennis shoes! Meeting was over, and we are walking back across this large hospital in those blankety, blankety high heels, just a complaining. By the time we get back to our work we are barefooted. We sat on that work bench, rubbed our feet and laughed. Lesson learned – check dress code before meetings. And thank goodness for clogs and tennis shoes with scrubs.
I so enjoyed the different conversations I had though out the day, when I was out in the work place. The conversations could have been about someone wondering why they are in jail, not knowing they needed high blood pressure medications and teaching them about diabetes, to I threw up at home and mom gave me cherry something. Oh, you have fever. I am not judging – I have done that too as a mom. Even told my DON, oh the school will be calling soon. The best conversation that made me laugh was attempting to find out a PK student’s name, because the teacher only wrote an initial on the nurse pass. She was trying to tell me her name and I just could not understand her. I then cleverly asked her, “what does your momma call you?’ Her response Lady bug. You smile and keep trying. “What does your teacher call you?” Her brilliant response was my teacher don’t call me, I don’t have a phone! This in when you laugh out loud.
Working from home has made me slow down and improve my relationship with God. I have time in the mornings to have one on one devotionals. If you think about the roles you play wife, mom, teacher, nurse, coach, cheerleader, taxi driver, referee, cook, gardener, pet groomer etc you play dress up daily. But what do you put on daily for walking with God. He is your armor, your hiding place, your strength, your shield. Psalm 32: 7 ESV You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with your shouts of deliverance. Psalms 119-:114 ESV you are my hiding place and my shield. I have to daily remind myself -NO! Stop! When the devil creeps in to tell me, I can’t do something because of fear, being judged, or even worse thinking of bad outcomes. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, “says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope”. To find direction you have to be still, take time to be thankful, pray, listen, learn and work on you and your relationship with God.
Though we may wear many hats, clothes and shoes in our daily work and play, I am ever so thankful Granny allowed us to wear her high heels on those wooden floors and hold us tight on those wooden pews. Learning to love and serve the Lord. We may not always have had the right outfit on, but does it really matter to our heavenly Father. He wants your heart and a relationship with you.
The cedar tree limbs were moving like whips hitting the window of our bedroom window. It had been raining all morning and the wind had picked up. So, we were stuck inside on this Saturday. Cartoons were over, and we were inside our room planning our next club house. We were moving upscale to my great granny’s old house. We, being my sister and brother. I am the oldest. My sister is the middle child and brother is the baby. At this point of our life we were 5, 7, and 9 years old. We moved in with Granny when I was entering the 4th grade. Granny’s house became home to us for 5 years. The red dirt road and surrounding woods was our playground.
Our three-bedroom, white wooden house- with red shutters, sat bout 50 yards off the red dirt road. You could smell the iron ore in the air, from the dust that blew into the unsealed windows. This small house had wooden and laminate floors. The wooden walls had peeling, cloth wall paper and paneling. Our wooden home sat on cinder block sand was surrounded by towering cedar and oak trees, with one beautiful wisteria tree. The cedar trees were so large their limbs touched the ground. Their limbs created a canopy of shade and wall of protection from the red dirt road. Grass did not grow under these trees. The magnificent oak trees held a tire swing. This tire swing was held in place by a wire rope at least 20 feet up to the first branch.
Behind the great cedar tree sat a four-room wooden house with holes in the roof and floors. This was great granny’s house. She no longer lived here, she was living with the Lord. Two rooms in this old house was for storing potatoes we helped picked from my aunt’s 5-acre garden. We would sometimes help her in the garden by picking peas, digging potatoes or pulling corn. For every bushel of peas, we earned 25 cents. The best part of this we could pick a watermelon and take with us to the creek or bring Granny a cantaloupe to cut up for us. With the rain we were not working today. We were setting up our club house today in this old house. A peach tree and two large fig trees separated Granny’s house from Great Granny’s house. Great Granny’s house was going to become our old house-club house. It held treasures and items from the past, that we loved to play with.
The rain was coming to an end, with only a drizzle and the wind was now a gentle breeze. We gathered up our notebook, barbies, hot wheels and baby carriage to take with us to the old house. Walking out onto the back porch you could hear the frogs singing and smell the clean red dirt and rain smell. Looking out over the garden we could see the towering pine trees. The old pine trees stood majestically above the garden, some 70 feet up. We could watch them sway back and forth in the wind. We also knew behind this line of trees was a forest, that we had yet to go explore. But that was for another day. Sister came out of granny’s house pushing the baby carriage and brother carried all the cars, while I oversaw the notebook. The notebook contained all the rules, members, and plans. We entered the old house through the back door. Getting into the old house was always a chore. The front door that faced the red dirt road did not have steps to get in. This meant we had to use the back door and climb over all the potatoes. The kitchen area and a room off to the right, with the built in corner shelves held all these potatoes. The house sometimes stunk of rotten potatoes, but you got accustom to this smell. Once we pushed the door open it was like walking through a field of land mines. All around us were stacks of potatoes, taller than brother. Sometimes if we were lucky we would find the rotten potato and it turned quickly into a hand grenade. BOOM! We would send this rotten tater out the window or into the hole in the floor. Like we were bombing the enemy trying to come into our castle. We had to help get rid of the smell. We could see the dirt from the holes in the floors. Our old house did not have electricity or plumbing. There wasn’t even a room where a bathroom went, but it was our castle. We had to protect it.
Once we made it through the rooms with the potatoes we would open up the boxes of dishes, clothes, shoes, hats, books and purses. We picked out our outfit for the day of play and imagination. Too big, it didn’t matter. We put on the high heels and walked around, clop, clop, clop. Granny always had nice heels in her closet and every time we put her “good” shoes on she would start fussing. “Take those off, you are going to break the arch”. In our old house we could wear which ever high heel or hat we wanted to. We played for hours in the high heels, dresses, gloves and hats. Brother even drug around and old dress coat with tails and pants legs we tried to cuff up for him.
Brother being the youngest, finally got tired of having to be in the baby carriage all time, took his cars and went out to play under the fig tree. Sister and I continued to play Pam and Sally. These were two important play characters we sometime fought over who was who. Each of these ladies had jobs and got to wear all the different hats. As we are clomping on these wooden floors in our high heels and avoiding the holes, we hear brother hollering and running up the wooden stairs. He lowers his voice and says, “It’s a big cat. Come look at the big black cat.”
We all three run outside, down the wooden steps to the peach tree. To the left side of the garden walking towards my aunt’s house was this large black cat. This was the biggest cat we had ever seen. It was getting closer and closer. We stood there and just watched. Not sure if we knew to be scared. We watched as it came up to the dog food bowl. Then we heard the gun fire ring out. We jumped out of those high heels and sprinted to granny’s. We ran in as daddy was running out. He had a gun and was walking quickly to the edge of the garden. We are all taking 90 miles an hour, as granny and mom gather us up to watch for the big cat.
We finally see the large black cat walking slowly at the back of the field (garden). This is about 400 yards away. The cat was walking with grace and elegance. He was in no hurry. This was not a house cat. It looked like the kind of cat you would see in the zoo. We knew the zoo very well, since we had to take many trips during maw maws chemo treatments. My aunt or mom took turns taking maw maw to the hospital and us 6 cousins to the zoo. We saw dad raise his gun up. We were watching now with fear for the big black cat and scared for us, since he came up to the house. The gun fire cracked the silence of the air with a BOOM! We watched the cat jump up into the air and do a flip. He landed on all four legs and quickly ran away. We exhaled a sigh of relief and disbelief that dad and my uncle had both missed the cat.
In all this excitement all we hear from the adults, “Never seen them this close before.” “It sure looked awful black.” To redirect us Granny gave us buckets to go pick figs and pick up the high heels we left in the back yard. She began telling us words of wisdom, “A good pair of high heels, that don’t hurt your feet are hard to find. You got to take care of your high heels, You never know when you will need them.” We continued to watch for the big black cat, but never saw him again on this Saturday. We would see him throughout the summer and winter that year, but he never came back to the porch.