Flip Flops

family story

It happened yesterday evening – I put on my flip-flops for the first time since winter began. Screw Punxsutawney Phil, the Weather Channel and the Farmers Almanac. Summer is finally here. It was an epic moment: “honey, could you grab my Flops off the back porch? I think they’re out there somewhere!”

My 15 month old son had never seen flip flops before. He heard them “flap flap flap” as I put him to sleep on walks when he was just a few months old. When we moved into our new house mid-summer I had little chance to wear anything but work boots. Standing in our mud-room together before heading out into the evenings warmth, his jaw dropped as I slid my fish white feet into my old reliables.
What are these fascinating creatures wrapped around Papas feet? He was delighted by the idea of attaching living creatures to your bare feet as a means of locomotion. He made his own clomping duck-like steps copying me as we headed out with Mama to check the mail and drop off our trash can. Little does he know the hidden power of Flops is actually to engender a deep sense of peace.

Though these Flops are magical they are not particularly exciting to look at. I once bought a pair of comfy, recycled, eco-friendly Flops only to ignore them for months until they were lost. People gave me really nice Flops as gifts, seeing that the magic Flops were permanently attached to my feet and might be fusing to the skin. I wore their offerings for a few days before politely hiding them away. My magic Flops are rubber and plastic, bought on sale from a store I don’t particularly like. They’re dull green, cracking, and definitely on their way out. Sadly they may not last the summer. Who knows if another pair with the same magical power will ever find their way to my feet. Can one find true love more than once?

I held my head up high as we walked down the dirt road, still grooved from the creek that formed during the rains. The sound of my Flops was drowned out by the grind of the cheap plastic trash can wheels I dragged over rocks, sticks, and the occasional frog pancake left behind by late night drivers. Ahh summer, you can really taste it in the air.

The average Flops will not allow you to run very fast, they encourage a leisurely approach to everything you do. Magical Flops do even more than that. They transport you to a kind of hippie-surfer Nirvana. Run? Why would you ever need to run? Everything is always right where you need it. What time is it? Who cares, its now man. Groovy.

Yesterday my Flops ushered in summer for all of Central California. A few weeks ago summer looked to be hiding half way around the world, but the Flops always know. I’m tempted to buy my son a pair of flops but he has a magic all his own. I carried him home on my shoulders last night, bouncing to the pace of the Flops. An old surfer was passing us on the road when he stopped to introduce himself to us. He felt it to, the power of summer – the power of the Flops. He said my son was the most beautiful little one he’d ever seen. Not even magical Flops can stand up to baby magic.

Here’s wishing you a magical summer!

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