Some things you do as a kid, you just never forget.
Either the mischievousness was ingenious, the consequence was traumatizing, or a valuable life lesson was learned. My childhood memories mainly consist for the first two reasons.
But back to my story.
I was going to spend the day with my “grandpa” Danny which was a special occasion for me. One, I loved my grandpa, and two, he let me get lost in his world of books. Being the grown-up little boy that I was, I had just mastered the art of polishing my shoes. An art of which I was extremely proud.
So after donning my newly polished black shoes, my mom dropped me off. My grandpa’s house had wood floors so taking off my shoes was not a requirement, plus I thought I looked rather sharp with my shiny shoes. After I caught him up on all the latest and greatest events in my little world, he smilingly showed me his newest book acquisitions.
It didn’t take me long to find a book that interested me. Then off I went to my favorite spot – the white shag rug in the guest bedroom. It was a thick white rug by the window that always called for me to curl up on it and read myself into oblivion. And that’s exactly what I did. But a white rug, a wriggling boy, and freshly polished shoes do not play well together, and that day was no exception.
I mentioned that shoe polishing was a newly acquired skill of mine, and the finer points of polishing I had not yet mastered. The main problem here was that I had failed to remove all the polishing paste from my shoes. The leftover paste morphed into long random and very black streaks on the very white rug.
A couple hours later when the book was done, so was the rug. As I got up to put the book away, I saw the havoc I had wreaked. But I remained undaunted by my destruction until I realized that the soap and brush handed to me by an extremely solemn grandpa availed nothing.
I think I remember this white rug so well, because I didn’t get experience the consequences I expected.
If this had been my dad’s rug, I would have toiled for months, for mere pennies a day, to replace the rug. Had this been my mom’s rug, she most likely would have cried over it’s loss, or even worse yet, kept the rug as a constant reminder to me of my horrible sin.
But not my grandpa.
He watched me scrub hesitantly, then determinedly, and finally frantically; but with no results. He knew the black marks wouldn’t come out and so did I. But he also knew how stubborn I was so he wordlessly let me continue scrubbing. How could I dare stop scrubbing? I had ruined my grandpa’s rug and I was determined that my scrubbing efforts, at the least, would exhibit my remorse.
I hated the shoe polish.
I despised the whiteness of the rug.
I swore to never polish my shoes again.
I promised myself to never again walk on any rug with shoes.
The latter promise is the only one I’ve kept, along with a deep resentment for the color white.