Ralph came home from work, one hot August evening. "Alice, I'm home," he said.

She came from the kitchen to greet him. "Hi, Ralph. Dinner will be ready, soon."

They kissed. And then, he noticed something about his wife: She wasn't wearing shoes.

"You're barefooted."

"I like to walk around barefooted—especially when it gets this hot."

"Put some shoes on."

"I will not, Ralph."

"PUT SOME SHOES ON!"

She sighed. "Well, if that's the way you feel about it!"

She walked into the bedroom. A few seconds late, she came out again with a pair of bedroom shoes on. She went back in the kitchen and continued with the dinner.

Meanwhile, his anger subsided. "Alice, could you come over here, for a moment—please?"

"All right." She walked over to him.

"I'm sorry I got angry with you. You see, seeing you barefooted reminded me of my mom."

"It did?"

"Yeah. We grew up in the depression, as you know. She would often go around barefoot because she spent whatever money she had on us, rather than her."

She nodded. "I understand, Ralph."

"But you were walking around barefoot not because you had to, but because you wanted to, right?"

"Yes, that's right, Ralph."

"Baby, I'm sorry!"

"It's ok, Ralph."

They hugged and kissed.

"You can walk around barefoot, if you'd like."

"I can?"

"Sure, Alice."

"Ok, I will!"

She slipped her shoes off by the couch. Barefooted, she went back to the kitchen and continued her work.

"I tell you what, Alice: This Saturday, we'll go to Schwartz' Hardware and get an air conditioning unit for the window!"

"Thanks, Ralph!"

"But you can still go barefooted, if you want to!"

She smiled. "Sure, Ralph!"