Dandelion wine is offered as a metaphor of summer here, bottled for the winter season of illnesses and wheezing. In Douglas’ words: “Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.”
Douglas discovers that his feet won’t move as fast as that of the other boys because his sneakers are worn out. He becomes entranced by a pair of brand-new Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot Shoes in a shop window, and thinks on how the need for a “magic” pair of sneakers to run in the green grass is something only boys can understand when his father argues against buying another. The local shoe seller, Mr. Sanderson, is initially resistant to selling the sneakers to Douglas, especially since he doesn’t even have enough money to pay for them upfront. Douglas, however, convinces him to try on a pair of his own sneakers, which triggers memories in Mr. Sanderson of when he was a kid and ran like the antelopes and gazelles. He agrees to let Douglas have the sneakers in return for work done by him in the shop to pay off the bill. The story ends with Douglas speeding away in the distance and Mr. Sanderson picking up his discarded old sneakers.