A Memory by Mildred Filbrun Heck (original author unknown)
Did you walk barefoot as a child?
After 80 years I still find it a great pleasure. On a beautiful spring
morning there was nothing so great as running barefooted thru cool grass
covered with dew. How very delightful it was to go barefoot all over the
farm. I do not have to close my eyes to feel that crisp cold grass on my
bare feet; for a moment I almost feel young again.
How exciting it was to put the shoes away
for the summer. How thrilling it was to see the first bumble bee and the
first butterfly. There is a special feeling of walking in newly plowed
soil that I cannot express. The stubbles in a newly cut wheat field was anything
but pleasant and one soon learned to walk straight ahead between the rows.
After a thunderstorm we kids ran thru every
mud puddle in search of the end of the rainbow. All summer our bare feet
nicked up many splinters of wood or thorns or rusty nails. We hurt even
worse as we saw our mother coming with a needle and the bottle of turpentine.
Sometimes if the stubbed toe or cut foot did not heal quickly mom put a poultice
of salt and lard on it and wrapped it with rags torn from an old sheet.
Bee stings and chiggers were quickly treated with kerosene.
On frosty spring or autumn mornings we kids were sent to fetch the cows from the pasture fields. If a cow was laying down we got her up and stood in that warm spot for a few moments to warm the feet. We kids had the job in early spring mornings to "watch the cows" as they ate the fresh grass on the open road sides. When our feet got very cold we would stand in any pile of warm cow flop we could find.
Every morning all year long, winter included, we crawled from our warm beds and ran as fast as possible thru the rain or snow or ice to the outhouse that sat in the backyard. No one lingered there very long -- if we protested, we were told that the cold was very good for the feet.
Going barefooted for half of every year was not only great fun, but you learned to feel a thousand things with your bare feet. I am sorry for whoever has not had that experience because it can not be bought anywhere at any price.
The author of the above is unknown, but it is written exactly as I did experience these things in my youth on our Ohio farm at the northeast corner of Shull Road and Old Troy Pike in Wayne Township (now Huber Heights).
story has been edited by Mrs. Heck’s
brother, William S. Filbrun -
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