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Sausage Shoes

The Boy Who Wore Sausage Shoes

Written on Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Tod was a perfectly normal boy in every way. Perfectly normal that is, with one exception: where there should have been shoes on his feet, there were large sausages that had been hollowed out and allowed to dry. I don't know if you know it or not, but a dried out sausage is nearly indestructible; you can bang nails into concrete with them and they won't break or even scratch.

Indestructible or not, Tod hated his shoes. The dogs chased him and other kids pointed and laughed in that way that only kids can point and laugh. They also tended to take on a peculiar odor during humidity of the summer. None of this made Tod happy. He just wanted to have normal shoes like everyone else.

One day, Tod came to visit me--I'm his milk man. Don't let the title milk man fool you, however, we deliver a lot more than just milk, including eggs and cheese. Tod mentioned his shoe problem to me.

I thought about his problem long and hard, for I was sympathetic with the boy. I'd never worn sausage shoes before, but I could relate to his problem. I decided that I would help him out.

I'm pretty handy, so I figured I'd make him some shoes myself. You have to remember, this was back in the 1930s and there wasn't much money to go around. I gathered some supplies and set to work. After a few hours time, I had the perfect pair of shoes made.

The next day, while doing my route, I eventually arrived at his house. I crept up to his bedroom window and gently knocked. After a few moments, he answered, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

I handed him a package, wrapped in brown packing paper and tied with string. He asked me what was in it. I told him to open it up, but while he was fumbling with the knot, I said he wouldn't have to wear those sausage shoes anymore. His eyes brightened and he worked harder on the knot. Eventually, he got the package open and saw my gift to him.

Two shoes, just his size, made entirely of cheese.

His smile dropped off his face, and one of puzzlement took its place. He asked me if they were made of cheese. I confirmed that not only were they made of cheese, but they were made of a variety of cheeses from all over the world, melted together and shellacked to perfection.

Tod looked at them and looked at me. He blinked.

To my utter surprise, he handed me the shoes back, still half wrapped in the paper with twine dangling from the bundle. He told me my shoes were stupid and that I should as he put it, "take a hike you awful milk man."

It was my turn to look and blink. I guess I stood there looking weird a bit too long because out of his mouth came a loud shriek for his mother.

Back in those days, people weren't as cautious with their kids as they are now, and it wasn't considered strange for a man to approach a little kid. No one thought for a moment that the child would be kidnapped. Even so, it would raised several questions to remain standing at Tod's window holding a pair of cheese shoes while he was screaming for his mom.

I decided it was in my best interest to leave quickly.

When I was done for the day, a fellow milkman agreed to trade routes with me. I never saw Tod again.

I still have the cheese shoes. Or what's left of them. It's been more than 60 years since they were made. The shellac cracked with age and critters got in and made off with the cheese. All that really remains is a translucent husk.

I look at them every day. Sometimes I hold them and think back to the time when I was a milk man. Sometimes a tear comes to my eye. Sometimes I let it and sometimes I wipe it away, embarrassed.

But every time--every single time I hold them, look at them, or think of them, I cannot help but to realize just how much of an alcoholic I was back then.