Yes, Your Feet’s Too Big

poetry, Reflections


Aren’t snowshoes wonderful inventions? – mathematical wonders, the trapper’s friend, even life savers.

And, of course, they are a wonderful source of fun! Here, some of our younger students race about on snowshoes. Each year we have a cultural week at school. Usually, an elder will be there to teach the youngsters how to make snowshoes of birch and hide, although the ones these students are wearing are store-bought.

I grew up in Texas. My only knowledge of snowshoes came from stories like White Fang, by Jack London:

In advance of the dogs, on wide snowshoes, toiled a man. At the rear of the sled toiled a second man. On the sled, in the box, lay a third man whose toil was over, – a man whom the Wild had conquered and beaten down until he would never move nor struggle again.

…and from poems like The Call Of the Wild, by Robert William Service:

Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.)
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild — it’s wanting you.

But (and I’m not embarrassed to admit it) the memory that first comes to my mind when I see snowshoes is that of a song made popular by Fats Waller back in 1939 – the laughter rousing Your Feet’t Too Big, by Fred Fisher and Ada Benson:

Who’s that walkin’ round here? Mercy
Sounds like baby patter
Baby elephant patter that’s what I calls it

Say up in Harlem at a table for two
There were four of us, me, your big feet and you
From your ankles up, I’d say you sure are sweet
From there down there’s just too much feet

Yes, your feet’s too big
Don’t want you, ’cause you feet’s too big
Can’t use you, ’cause you feet’s too big
I really hate you, ’cause you feet’s too big

Where did you get them?
Your girl she likes you, she thinks you’re nice
Got what it takes to be in paradise
She said likes your face, she likes your ray
Man oh man them things are too big

Oh, your feet’s too big
Don’t want you, ’cause you feet’s too big
Mad at you, ’cause your feet’s too big
I hate you, ’cause your feet’s too big

My Goodness! Gun the gunboats!
Ship, ship, ship

Oh your pedal extremities are colossal
To me you look just like a fossil
You got me walkin’, talkin’ and squawkin’
‘Cause your feet’s too big, yeah

Come on and walk that thing
Oh, I’ve never heard of such walkin’, mercy
Your, your pedal extremities really are obnoxious
One never knows, do one?

Please do yourself a favor, go watch and listen to Fats Waller sing Your Feet’s Too Big, then tell me if you don’t walk a little lighter on your feet the rest of the day!


10 thoughts on “Yes, Your Feet’s Too Big

  1. That was a good old song. If I remember correctly we used to have the record. I am afraid I could not put my hands on it now though!

    1. Haha. Funny how things disappear over time, isn’t it? I remember it too. You and Dad would play music after I went to bed and I would fall asleep listening to Fats and Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, and the wonderful Songs Of the West.

      Click on the link, Mom, the title Your Feets Too Big in the last sentence, and it will let you see and hear Fats Waller sing it again!

  2. Snowshoes…only used them the first year out here at the cabin. I discovered they did make walking in deep snow easier but the effort it took had me hang them up and never use them again.

  3. Snowshoeing is what I do in winter. Love it. The way to hike in winter and over the past several years they’ve made being out in winter as much if not more fun than being out in summer. I use MSR Lightening Ascent snowshoes which are sort of a cross between snowshoes and crampons: make it easy to go up steep ice. They don’t float on deep powder well but once a trail is made they make it easy to walk at a good clip without falling.

    This winter we had enough snow down here in NW Connecticut so that at least until a trail is broken having bigger shoes with more flotation would be useful. I can hardly imagine what it’s like up there with all the snow you get regularly.

    1. You probably got more snow this year than we did. I’ve heard what it is like up there and that must be a dream winter for you.

      In the 4 years I have been in the interior of AK, we have never had more than 20 inches snow depth. It’s just too cold most of the time to snow more than that. Now, the coastal ranges down by Anchorage, they can get lots more, but not this year. They sent it to you as a present. 🙂

      1. Wow Dave, I had no idea. We had close to 4 feet of snow on the ground for a while here. Even though it’s been melting, we still have a few feet in place. Pretty incredible for around here.

  4. So,Dave,where are the photos of the famous Northern Light that was seen even here? (not by me,of course,I never see it,I live in the middle of the town). 😀

    1. Didn’t see it. Been chaperoning a basketball trip and basketball was the only thing in the world this past week. Now I’m disappointed that I missed it!

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