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Judy Broken Boots
An Oral Memoir of a Brassy Babe: Banks, Oregon, 3/17/22
© 2022 James LaFond
AUG/8/22
Written from memory on 3/21/22
Sarah’s mother and father had been divorced and her father was no longer with the church. He had moved to Florida and was living a nice life. Mom, remarried, after having a few kids with Dad, and then started having kids with Stepdad, to number five.
This left Sarah in a poor position. Stepdad was still in the church and very righteous. And, Mom would never make a decision concerning Sarah, ever. Sarah did homework, Stepdad checked it. Sarah received a letter, Stepdad read it. If Sarah wanted to engage in any activity that required permission in advance, Mom would not even discuss it, but forward her to Stepdad.
Well, while Sarah is all of 13 and is just beginning to collect a few minor possessions, Stepdad and Mom open their house to a couple who is down on their luck. What their past was, where they came from, this was immaterial. The family was a Christian household and the family was to open their arms to these people. This couple were nineteen-twenty years old and the woman was named Judy.
Judy was very tall and thin, perhaps six feet tall. Sarah was short and petite. All they had were the clothes on their backs, so what they needed, the family was to provide. And, through some miracle of human anatomy, Judy, at six feet, and Sarah nearer to five feet—and both shaped very differently—had the identical shoe size of one another.
Well, Sarah was not thrilled—favorite eye-liner or makeup pencil: gone. Who was she, just some kid. Judy was a woman and had full range to come into Sarah’s room and take what she needed and Sarah was to provide with open arms. Sarah was steaming.
So, Sarah did not have much—none of us did. God likes austerity, you see, and we little girls need to share some of the poverty of the Man from Galilee. Sure, we knew—had been raised strictly in the church to believe that everything bad that befell you was a punishment earned by you and sent straight from God. But Sarah had one favorite possession—or should we say two—her boots. She had this old pair of boots that she wore everywhere. Sarah loved those boots.
It occurs one morning at church, that Judy had appropriated Sarah’s boots—her one real treasured possession. Judy is there wearing those treasured boots and Sarah is steaming—really angry. But nothing can be said, nothing done—we are good Christians after all. The sermons were of course two hours long. We had to give the preacher enough time to rain enough fore and brimstone—this was the1980s and the End Time was coming at the end of 1999!
After church we have a potluck, a very nice tradition that encouraged families to form bonds after church and share food—and on this fine day, a softball game. Most of us girls didn’t lay. But Judy, Judy was up for it, smacking the ball, running the bases and even sliding in to base in Sarah’s treasured boots. At last, at the end of the day, Judy comes walking in from the outfield and something is the matter with her foot: was she hurt from one of those big slides? Did she twist her ankle?
No such luck, and Sarah knew it before we could see clearly, that Judy was limping because she had broken one of Sarah’s little boots in half—a total loss. Sarah was so angry, but nothing could be said; Charity demanded sacrifice. We could not go up on the cross so we had to do our best to compensate in our own small way.
Every after, anytime one of us mentioned Judy, Sarah would insist, “Judy Broken Boots!” And so, that is the story of Judy Broken Boots. They stayed for less than a year, maybe eight months. Sarah would move to Florida and have a very nice life that began with successful military career while Mom was cranking out more half-siblings for Stepdad. She only returns when necessary.
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