Don’t Go Barefoot Before May 1st

My informant for this story is my friend’s grandmother.

When I was younger, I would spend the night at my friend’s house fairly often.  His house was where all of us would hang out and play video games or watch movies.  For some reason, we didn’t spread out going to all of our houses very much.  Since we were at his house so often, we often were there when his grandparents were over at the same time.  As a result, I got to know them pretty well and developed a friendship with each of his grandparents.  One time, when I was spending the night at his house, I went downstairs to the kitchen to get a drink.  It was in March.  I remember it because we were watching March Madness on TV.  I came downstairs barefoot and as I walked to the kitchen, I hear his grandmother say “don’t you know you’re not supposed to go barefoot before May 1st?”

She said it in a friendly and joking way, so I sort of laughed it off but as I thought about it, I wondered what she meant.  I didn’t say anything at the time but at a later date, I asked her what she meant and she explained that her husband’s family always warned against going barefoot before May 1st.  She explained that they took it very seriously and forbade their children from doing so and it was evidently because generations earlier, one of the children in the family went barefoot to the outhouse.  Though it was spring, it was still very chilly and the child caught a cold, developed pneumonia and died.  I was surprised to hear this was the reason, but I often think about that as I am walking around the house barefoot.