“Ready! Steady! GO!” The intensity was thick as the group of seven-year old boys sprinted forward, as was the dust. It was the Annual Sports Day for all the primary schools of Cork City, Ireland. St. Luke’s School was there, with my own seven-year old son, Johnny, running with all his strength against other little boys.
The day had not started well. Johnny had brought his runners to me, tears in his eyes. “Mummy! Look at the soles of this one! It has come off.” He held it up for me to examine. Sure enough, the sole had come unglued and the other shoe looked perilously close to do the same.
‘Damn cheap shoes!’ I swore in my mind, and then prayed for strength and forgiveness. We knew when we bought these runners that their life expectancy was short. But Johnny was growing so fast, that his shoes never wore out. He wore them one week, maybe two weeks, and then he needed a larger size. Dr. Kenney once said, “Johnny, you’ll grow to be a fine big man, Lord help your parents. Keepin’ up with you will be a job, so.”
My husband walked into the kitchen, and Johnny held up his shoes, silent tears now on his ruddy cheeks. The sports day would start in a few hours. We did not have time, and certainly not the money, to buy new shoes. He examined them, with that sweet concentration that I loved. “Well, it seems to me that we can make these shoes better than new.” Then he went to the mudroom, emerging with a roll of silver duct tape. Johnny put on the cheap runners, and his father patiently, carefully wound the silver tape around and over, under and up again, until the instep and toe bed of the shoes were firmly held together.
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“Won’t m’mates tease me?” Johnny looked down at his silver shoes.
“Nah. You just tell them that you were practicing, and the shoes melted, ‘cause you were running so fast,” I told him, again praying forgiveness for my lie. “Now, your shoes are like silver wings, and you’ll run faster than ever.” His face lit up, and a big smile told me that even he believed me.
So, we watched as Johnny and his silver winged shoes turned the curves of the track. “GO! GO! JOHNNY, GO! Then we danced with our arms high as Johnny and his silver shoes crossed the line first.
|I love watching their faces!|
As we walked back to the car park, laughing and listening to Johnny tell and re-tell the story of the race, we overheard his mates pointing to the shoes, and demanding that their parents fix their shoes like Johnny’s shoes. They wanted silver wings.
Remembering this event, the vision of my young son with his friends, my husband's solution--would I have written this memory on my own? Most likely not. Thank you, Arlee Bird and your amazing friends who are hosting this A-Z blogfest!