My mother may well haunt me tonight. I went to church with dirty feet, in sandals.
The whole world might have seen that my toenails were stained the color of potting soil. I would never have allowed my own child to present dirty toes to the world, which shows just how far my standards have fallen. I suppose my grandchildren will reap the benefits.
It isn’t that I was proud of my dirty toes. I was briefly mortified, as I dressed for church. I had picked out and ironed an outfit, then put on closed shoes with it. Somehow it just didn’t work. (So now I’m a fashion maven, too?) Since the day boded fair, I opted for sandals, and then noticed my renegade toes.
Rest assured, I scrubbed my hands and feet after potting a dozen yard plants yesterday, but something in that soil is a permanent dye. It took bleach to make my fingernails passable but I didn’t look closely at my feet. Tut-tut.
The toe episode reminded me of how things have changed since I went to church with my grandparents. Right up through the ‘60s, I wore hats to church. There were actually hat shops in the mall and I loved them. Hats let you get away with bad-hair days.
My mom always made sure that she had that small lace mini-veil in her purse, should we suddenly need some sort of head cover. This came in handy, sight-seeing in Europe with a cathedral on every corner. I also went with the veil when my hair was working. No one wants to waste a good-hair day.
I occasionally slip into old habits, bothering to make sure things match and are ironed. I’ve even been known to put away my white shoes on Labor Day.
Meanwhile, I am hoping no one looked down at my tootsies this morning and wondered about my personal hygiene. I also forgot to shave my underarms, but they were cleverly hidden beneath my jacket. Tut-tut, indeed.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer heading for a pedicure. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.