Dad’s Wood Sandals
With his usual relaxed pace, my brother passed by Dad’s favorite chair on his way to the TV-set to change the channel. The tiny wood tower under Dad’s feet collapsed.
“What? What did I do?”
Son: 1, Dad: 0. The first-born succeeded yet once again in his sabotage of Dad’s hard work. The formula: one sleek move of a foot. Like that of a skilled soccer player. The barely-there grin of a few minutes-ago turned into a broad smile on my brother’s handsome face. Mom and I could not help but side with the winner. Dad teasingly chastised my brother after our conspiring threesome laughter stepped out of our living room for a little while. “Hınzır oğlan!” My brother did not hold his gut-laughs any longer. Proud of his repeated success, he practically hit the floor laughing. Mom and I, though with a bit more tact, were ready and willing to join him. Dad gave us a supposedly disapproving look at first, but joined in the fun soon after.
“Baba, you know that I am going to get you each time. So, why do you still keep using your sandals as a footstool?”
“Oğlum, my feet feel really good like this. I am very comfortable. Besides, it’s great for circulation. If you sit for a long period of time, your . . .”
Before Dad finished his sentence, my brother was already out the door. He knew too well what was coming up. Mom and I knew it too: a set of mini-lectures by Dad about the health benefits of lifting up one’s legs during prolonged sitting-sessions. While the first-born began to have the time of his life again with his basketball buddies just around the corner of our apartment building, Mom and I, the members of Dad’s captive audience, stayed put – awaiting our doom. After one more of his pretend-angry “Hınzır oğlan!” outbursts, Dad talked on and, poised, put his sandals back into their original cooperative state: one on top of the other, each tucking in one foot in an envy-raising tenderness.
“I got these in Germany during my first stay there. Prof. Mitcherlich told me then how wood was the healthiest way to go as far as footwear. He was an intelligent man in every which way! I learned so much from him. He always said to me that our care for our health must start with our feet. In spring, summer and autumn, he would wear open shoes only. Inside and outside. In winter, only wood sandals inside.”
Mom and I knew what the mere mention of Dad’s doctoral advisor’s name was going to cost us: an onslaught of many more assorted anecdotes. We just had to escape without hurting Dad’s feelings. Just at that moment, our kitchen made an announcement: dinner preparations were in order. Thankfully, Dad was not paying any attention to the clock . . .
By the way, did I mention that Dad absolutely loved everything “Made in Germany”? His totally worn-out wood sandals, in particular?
© hülya n. yılmaz, 2.20.2020
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From my manuscript of short stories, Once upon a Time in Turkey . . .