Mama meant well. She was only trying to protect our health, but the one rule that she insisted upon for my six siblings and me that most tempted me to run away from home (just kidding) was that we weren’t allowed to go barefoot until we heard a whippoorwill call. I used to think they would n.e.v.e.r come out in the springtime. I thought I couldn’t bear it! My yellow sneakers made my feet sweat and felt like prison bars with no keys for the door except what only a night bird could open.
Then on a blessed night, usually unexpectedly, there would be that soft short call of a whippoorwill from the woods behind our house. WooHOO! No more shoes for a whole summer long!
At this grandmother-ing stage of my life I still listen for the first call of a whippoorwill, and when it finally comes I still feel the same surge of joy that barefoot weather is here! (Even though I wear flip flops now.)