Jumping the Wake

If you missed the first five installments of this whacky ride–er, I mean walk–you messed up! But in case you’re interested, you can go to the links below and catch up:

1. When Does Weird Cross The Line?

2. Walk a Mile With My Shoe

3. Bring it, Scuff Boy!

4. The First Hundred Yards.

5. Are You Mad?

Now, if all that isn’t enough, I’ve got more, so come on! Part six is here!

The next morning, we’d made it almost to the quarter mile mark when the shoe got playful. Thankfully, we hadn’t encountered anyone yet, but wouldn’t you know it, the shoe went into make-the-dude-look-like-a-fool mode right as an elderly lady walking her Eddy dog came around the corner.

An Eddy dog is one of those little brutish looking dogs like Frazier’s dad had on the TV show, Frazier. Dogs and flowers; I have a heck of a time remembering their breeds and varieties.

Anyway, I felt the rope begin to go first to one side, pull, then to the other side, pull, and repeat. If the woman hadn’t come around the corner, I might have just ignored it, but fearing what the shoe could be doing, I looked over my shoulder to check it out. It was skiing.

Yeppers. There was the shoe, up on its heel, one lace dangling and bouncing on the sidewalk as it angled toward one side of the walk, then smoothly glided into a swooping turn and went to the other side. As it would turn, it would tug hard on the rope, then give it slack and lift itself off the walk as if jumping an unseen wake. I stopped, and the shoe—in mid swooping turn went tumbling into the dry grass.

When I turned and looked, the lady was only a few feet from us… I mean… me.

“My goodness,” she said, looking at the shoe then me. “How long has he been slaloming?”

I blinked rapidly, doing my best to keep my mouth from hanging open, but not succeeding.

She yanked on the Eddy dog’s leash as it lunged toward the shoe. “Eddie!” she said, continuing to restrain the growling dog. It yapped and then sat at her heels. She looked at me, smiling sweetly, as if waiting for me to answer. I didn’t have a clue what to say.

The woman smiled. “No need to be embarrassed,” she said.

My voice cracked like a ten-year-olds as I said, “Really?”

She stepped back so that she was in the shade of one of the live oaks that line the sidewalk, shielded her eyes with one hand and said, “Absolutely.” She sounded like Aunt Bea from Mayberry, but was much older and skinny as a rail. “Every shoe falls now and then.” Another smile; this one a bit on the devious side—or was I just seeing it that way? “Especially when they’re learning to slalom.” She looked past me as if trying to spot something on the sidewalk behind me then said, “Did he kick one off, or start out on one?” The lady was starting to freak me out, until I remembered I was the one pulling the skiing shoe.

I decided to stop fighting it and said, “Oh, there’s just the one. I don’t know if there is a second one. It… he’s never done this before, though, so I think it was pretty good for the first time out.”

The woman gasped and put her hand on her chest just below her throat. “I don’t believe it!” she said. “And he’s already jumping the wake?”

I gave a curt nod and said, “Yep.”

“My, my, my,” she said, looking down at the shoe with what appeared to be a mixture of amazement and admiration. “They didn’t make shoes like that when I was your age.”

I was doing my level best to think how I should reply to that statement when she gave a tug on Eddie’s leash and started off down the sidewalk, without another word. When she was a few steps away, she looked down at Eddie and said, “Mark my word, Eddie. We’ll see that shoe on Conan one day.”

Eddie barked his agreement. Or disagreement. It was a neutral kind of bark



  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Hmmm . . . I’m beginning to wonder what kind of neighborhood we live in. Seems there are some unusual (at the very least “accepting”) individuals around.

    Good story, though!

  2. HAHAHAH!! I love this woman!! What a hero!! She out-‘madded’ you. This is so surreal but still very entertaining… as always, looking forward to the next bit ;] xx

    • As Sherry said in her comment, we seem to be living in a neigborhood filled with very accepting folks.
      See you in a few days with another 1/4 mile or so. This could have been titled “The Longest Mile”.

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