The rare baby of three or nine days turned out to be a pair of rubber lint cotton


Rat I am happy

Source: Meijian App

  In the rural northeast fifty years ago, if a peasant child had a pair of rubber cotton “squirrels”, it was a rare “treasure” in the “three nine” days. In the harsh winter, the warm shoe nest still makes me unforgettable.

There is a mantra in our hometown, called “3949 does not shoot, peasant children walk on ice”. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been wearing cotton shoes that my mother made for me. My family has many children, there is not much shoe material, and my mother has a lot of work, and she can’t afford cotton shoes. There is no way to wear only a pair of single shoes in early winter, standing on the ice and snow road, freezing to stomp your feet, and frostbite several times in winter. Mom saw it in her eyes and hurt in her heart. Looking at the single shoes on our feet, she was so anxious that tears rolled in her eyes. Mom is a strong person, screw how much suffering she can endure, and never let the children be wronged. She worked day and night to weave mats, raise pigs and chickens, and used the money earned from her side business to solve the problem of wearing cotton shoes in winter.

  The year I graduated from elementary school, I put on a new shoe, a rubber cotton “squirrel”. Later, when I grew up, I learned that “靰鞡” came from the Manchu language, and in the northeast countryside, peasant families also used to call it “靰鞡”, and in order to remember and write well, many people changed “靰鞡” to “Ula”. Rubber lint cotton “squirrel”, produced by a shoe factory, is shaped a bit like casual shoes, but it looks very “ugly”, with a large front head, a small heel, thick leather, gray-black, many eyes, long laces, and a tongue in the middle. Don’t look ugly, but it is especially favored by the northeastern peasant families in the cold region. It is strong, wearable, lightweight, cold and wear-resistant. Those car bosses who went to the fields, those who drove horse-drawn carriages to deliver public grain, those who watched the yards of the production team, and those who sat on donkey carts and stringed relatives, all wore rubber cotton “squirrels”.

  I heard from the adults in the village that there are three treasures in the northeast: ginseng, mink, and tartar. To wear a cotton “saddle”, you have to put squid grass into your shoes. I also heard that this tartar grass grows in the Changbai Mountains and Outer Xing’an Ridge, and has many effects such as removing taste and cold, activating meridians, eliminating fatigue, improving blood microcirculation, and improving immunity. At that time, for us, the tartar grass was simply a fantasy, and we had never seen it, let alone used it. But we also came up with a good way: that is, to replace the tartar grass with bud rice leaves.

Every autumn harvest season, the yard is covered with large buds of rice to be picked. Our brothers and sisters, with small benches in our hands, sat in different positions to pick up rice. Mom said in a loud voice: “Whoever picks up the bud rice, the young leaves inside belong to whom.” “This encouragement with contracting really works, we compare to grilling to see who picks more bud rice and leaves more tender bud rice leaves.” Mom asked us to separate the young bud rice leaves, put them in a cool and breezy place, and when we wore the rubber lint cotton “squirrel”, take out some bud rice leaves, first tear the leaves evenly into thin strips by hand, and then comb them with a wooden comb. Then put it in your shoes and change them every few days. In my mind, bud rice leaves work better than tartar grass. But when I walked, the bud rice leaves scrambled, sometimes reaching the heels, and the bud rice leaves revealed a large piece. Finally, one year, my mother said to buy each of us a pair of blanket socks, put on the blanket socks, bud Miye is honest, and it is very comfortable to walk. My sister also picked up a lot of bud rice leaves, but my mother said that she didn’t count, and she didn’t buy her cotton “saddles”, saying that girls did not look good in “squirrels”, and every winter, they had to make her black velvet cotton shoes that were both beautiful and comfortable.

  I was especially willing to smell the smell of rubber, and when I first bought the shoes, I held a cotton “squirrel” in my hand and put it to my mouth to smell it. Mom said angrily: “Even if you get used to this problem, it doesn’t smell.” “But she said hers, and I smelled mine.” Once my mother took me to Shengli Supply and Marketing Co., Ltd. to buy shoes, my mother asked me to try them on, I took the shoes, smelled the smell first, smelled several pairs, the salesman said to my mother: “This child smells and smells, as if smelling can know the size of the shoes, I have never seen it.” Another time, I went to the Dongguantun Supply and Marketing Co., Ltd. to buy salt for my family, and my sweaty feet were steaming with heat and frost, and the soles of my feet were covered with mud and snow, freezing into a big ice block. At night, before going to bed, I put my shoes by the stove and wanted to bake them dry. I didn’t think about it, my mother added the bud rice in the stove, and in the middle of the night, I was in full swing, burning a big hole in the front of my shoe, and the rubber skin was also baked into a different shape, and my mother gave me a beating, and I didn’t stop for years.

  When I was a teenager, I wore almost all rubber cotton “saddles” in winter. Later, when the days got better, my mother made each of us a pair of large suede cotton shoes, and exchanged them with cotton “saddles”, generally wearing cloth cotton shoes during the New Year, and usually wearing rubber cotton “squirrels”. But the winter before I joined the army, my cotton shoes suddenly changed. Our village young man Fugui got along very well with me, and one day, he wore a pair of large-toed cotton shoes, which were anti-wool, yellow cowhide surface, and white wool inside, delicate and magnificent. The first time I’ve come across someone in the world that still has this kind of shoe. While admiring, he said to himself: “It’s so pretty.” The speaker has no intention, the listener has a heart. The next day, when I was on my way from school, Brother Fugui handed me a brown paper bag, and I opened it to see that it was the same pair of shoes he was wearing yesterday. Before I could speak, he said, “I can see that you like it, so give it to you.” “No, no, my father won’t let me accept the things of the young people, if I really accept it, I will be beaten.” As I spoke, I pushed my shoes out to see if I didn’t want them, and he changed his tone and said: “My sister bought me a new pair a few days ago, this old pair you wear first, and when you wear enough, you will return me.” “In this way, I wore it beautifully for a whole winter.

  The next year during the winter break of school, he took me to his house, and I was happy to go to the big city of Siping for the first time. But as soon as I entered the house, it was very different from what I imagined. His family lives in a bungalow, which is called a “slum”, which is no different from my family, my family burns firewood, his family burns briquettes, plus his mother is sick, his sister is a temporary worker, and life is very difficult. After returning home, I brushed and wrapped my beloved suede cotton shoes and returned them to Brother Fugui. Although I only wore these cotton shoes for one winter, this incident has touched me to this day.

Nowadays, there are many kinds of winter shoes. On New Year’s Day 2022, my lover bought me a pair of 1,800 yuan winter cotton leather shoes, which I wear beautifully on my feet. I thought, from the change of shoes, can indicate that our future is not a dream. The former rubber lint cotton “saddles” can only be placed in the folk museum, allowing the younger generation to witness the changes of this era.