The Farm on Oak Creek

Li’l Pink Crocs

Get ready for it. This post is about one woman’s obsession to find a pair of shoes that fit and what failing in that quest cost her.

Peanut and Cinco

Cinco got me two days ago. It’s not the first time he’s head butted me and it won’t be the last time. In Cinco’s defense I know he’s head butting out of sheer instinct. There’s not a mean bone in his body. Presenting him with the opportunity to hit you is like putting cake in front of the piggy girls. It’s just gonna happen. Ninety-nine percent of the time, he doesn’t hit hard enough to leave a bruise and he’s never once landed a second hit—although he’s drawn back as if he might be considering it. That said, if he wanted to, he could kill me. He could certainly break bones even at his somewhat small, eighty-odd pounds. When I had him sheared, the shearer complained that he was all muscle.

This time wouldn’t have been any worse than the rest if I had been alert to what was happening with Tiny and if I hadn’t been wearing my (not so) little pink Crocs.

Until this spring, I hadn’t been a Croc fan, not when they first appeared, not when jewelry for them appeared and not even when they came out in brightly colored patterns. I’m usually a sucker for anything brightly colored. What put these odd looking plastic shoes in the treasured spot beside my door was the combination of being hot pink and only $2.00 on sale at Tractor Supply.

You know your life has changed when you stop shopping for shoes at Nordstrom’s and instead eye the sale rack at Tractor Supply. Frankly, I have as good a chance of finding a pair of shoes that fit at a farm supply store as I do at the big “N”. Unlike some people, who walk into a shoe store and browse styles, colors, heel height, etc., I walk up to the nearest clerk and say “Eight and a half, double A.” At which point they either respond with, “Ooh, so sorry” or, in the case of Nordstrom’s, bring me the 2 or 3 pairs that might fit me, take ’em or leave ’em.

There was a time about 15 years ago when I could find Amalfi flats that fit perfectly and came in black AND brown for a mere $200 a pair. I bought 2 pairs and wore them constantly for the next three years, by which time they were pretty ragged. Sigh.

Oh, I suppose I could find trainers or hikers that I might be able to lace tightly enough that they wouldn’t slosh and slide. But I have a problem with lace-up shoes. I’m ambidextrous. This means I have no right/left dominance. That translates to “the ball hits me in the head before I remember which hand I catch with” and the fact that I cannot tie my shoes. I apparently learned to tie using the wrong hand first. Don’t ask me which one I’m supposed to use first because I don’t know. My knots, sometimes even when double-knotted, won’t stay closed. In the almost sixty years I’ve spent trying to correct this situation, I have continued to fail miserably. So when at all possible I avoid laced shoes.

At any rate, I brought home these Crocs just as winter set in and put them aside, thinking I might try them in the spring. Then, one fine March morning when it was mucky but too warm for my muck boots, I slipped my feet into those Crocs and flip-flopped and slid around in them as I did my morning chores. When I was done, I hosed them off.

Oooh, that was nice. And, much to my surprise, my bare feet didn’t react to whatever the heck plastic they’re made out of. Strange materials are real problem for me with my even stranger allergies.

Then I had that problem with my Plantar’s Fascia and instantly the Crocs became the only shoes that didn’t cause pain. Well, pain from wearing the shoe. There was the pain of sliding out of the shoe and finding a burr, or losing a Croc in the mud as I was walking along and having to hobble around as I tried to rinse it off and return it to my foot. Or, as happened the other day, tumbling to the ground when one of them slid off my foot as Cinco caught me in the back of the knee.

Now, that was a wake up call. The very last place I want to be is on the ground with my back to him. Because my li’l pink Croc went flying as he hit me, leaving me with no traction, that’s where I ended up.

So as I found myself scrambling around on the ground to face Cinco (he knows I’ll hit him in return and it’s a deterrent; I am Alpha, here me roar!), Peanut came to my rescue. He put himself between me and his father. Peanut is now taller than his sister Mari, but still slight and lamb-like. He didn’t get his dad’s horns, which Cinco isn’t supposed to have in the first place. Instead, Peanut got a pair of scurs. Those are pointed little afterthoughts of horns that Peanut’s Hampshire DNA insists should be the real deal.

Cinco is rapidly developing a real respect for those scurs. About two weeks ago, he backed up, aiming at me. I called him a butt-head and threatened him verbally with violence, then rested my closed fist on his forehead. You know, my usual routine. Touching my fist to his head mimics the way he and the other sheep greet each other, head to head. Although it doesn’t always work as well as a stick, he settles down often enough with it that I try it first.

Instantly, Peanut pushed himself between me and Cinco, and slammed his head into his father’s shoulder. Twice. That bony scur connected with Cinco’s shoulder hard enough that he has just now stopped limping.

Two days ago, with my protector lamb guarding my back, I got onto my feet, reclaimed my Croc and went on with my day. By that evening I realized that Tiny was in heat. That explains why Cinco has been particularly aggressive lately. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped considering turning him into dog food and keeping Peanut as my ram. After all, I’m raising sheep for meat (and lawn mowers, in which case I need about twenty of them), not furthering a pedigree.

But what am I going to do about shoes I can trust? I need something comfortable and narrow enough that my feet don’t slide in them. They can’t have laces because that just frustrates me. I mean, who wants to be reminded that they failed kindergarten? That pretty much leaves me buying a pair of custom-made shoes for beaucoup bucks to wear while walking in the mud and manure.

Maybe I’ll just get heel straps for the Crocs.

© Denise Domning, 2023