It's barefoot time here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere and the Colonel is relishing the muggy warmth of late Mississippi springtime.
Of course, in a couple of weeks, the Colonel will be complaining about the heat as spring gives way to full onset summer. But, for the time being, the Colonel's carcass is appreciating the winter-long-coveted caress of southern solar sympathy.
Short trips out of doors are more often sans footwear, and while the the bottoms of the Colonel's dogs are beginning to toughen up, they still haven't regained the shoe-leather insensitivity required for care-free shoeless operation.
Yesterday afternoon, as the Colonel corralled his two oldest grandsons and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda for a leap off the dock and a soak in the pond, the Colonel was padding about on the parking pad between the big house and the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility and stepped squarely and not-so gingerly upon a rock which, in size and shape, felt like a not-so-miniature replica of the Great Pyramid.
The Colonel leapt skyward and howled so loudly that neighbors throughout this part of the county mistook the wail for that of a tornado siren and took to their storm shelters.
You'd think they would have gotten used to the Colonel's wailing by now...
Grandson #1, the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dash 1 (H21CC - 1), stood to the side with head cocked and eyebrow raised watching the Colonel's pyramid-stomp hop and wail give way to a post-traumatic limp and whimper.
"What happened, Pop? Did you get bit by a snake?"
Snakebite is the current concern 'round these parts -- a neighbor suffered a copperhead bite on a bare foot recently. The neighbor is fine. The snake, not so much.
"No, it wasn't a snake! I stomped on that big sharp rock right there!"
H21CC - 1 knelt down to examine the size and weapons-grade dimensions of the rock in question. The boy is at the age where such rocks are collected for future offensive operations.
"What rock, Pop? All I see is this little pebble." The rock was clearly not pocket armory-appropriate ammo in his estimation.
"Little!?!," the Colonel exclaimed. "That boulder nearly crippled me!"
H21CC - 1 straightened and appraised his grand-progenitor with the sort of look that the Colonel has heretofore only seen on the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's face.
"Pop, you need to toughen up. I step on rocks all the time in my bare feet."
And then, the sagacity of youth:
"That's livin' in the country."