I’m going barefoot more often these days.

One of the reasons I really like our new house is that it reminds me of the house I grew up in. Not as it is now, with new windows, new floors, a fabulous deck, and not one stick of furniture from my childhood–but as it was when I was six years old and in love with the linoleum pattern in the kitchen.

Growing up on a farm in WV meant no shoes in the house. A commonsense policy in a place with mud, animals, and hardly any pavement. We even had a “shoe rug” just inside the back door. You came in and dropped your shoes there.

When my husband and I married it took some time for me to 1) stop taking my shoes off and 2) stop taking them off in random places. We didn’t have a shoe rug and my shoes weren’t really all that dirty, so I’d end up just kicking them off wherever and whenever the notion occurred to me. Under the kitchen table. Beside the bed. At the end of the sofa. Every once in a while, I even took them off in the closet.

My husband is a shoes-on-most-of-the-time man. And, eventually, he trained me to at least put my shoes AWAY when I took them off. Trust me, it’s MUCH easier to find them that way. And, over time, I got in the habit of wearing a pair of comfy, slip ons around the house.

But there’s something about this new house . . . Even now, my feet are bare. And I think that pair of slip ons is upstairs in the TV room. I think.

Sometimes, before bed, I open the front door and walk out onto the night-damp stoop in my bare feet. It’s cool and rough with bricks. If I step off of it, the grass is even cooler and soft with dew shocking my toes. It’s not that first home that will always be home in my heart, but my feet remember. They know this feeling. And when I walk back inside there’s the rug. THE rug.

And shoes or no shoes . . . I’m home.