Walk a mile in my shoes

Farm Forum

The old adage about “not knowing how good you have it until you don’t have it anymore” is ringing in my ears today. All I did this morning was walk out to my garden and I discovered that I certainly didn’t have it anymore. What didn’t I have? Read on for the story…

Jane’s Tale of Woe

It all started back in February when somehow or other, I blew out my knee which prompted much doctoring, aching and pain. Four months of suffering and limping around like an old coot caused me to become very crabby but also caused me to realize how lucky I had been all my life.

Walking was always something that I could do without a care or thought. Not so after injuring my knee and I came to comprehend the meaning of the phrase: “Come walk a mile in my shoes.”

There was absolutely no way that I could walk a mile nor a half mile nor even a quarter of a mile. If I walked to the mailbox, well, I was doing great this spring.

Presently, things are getting better now since my knee operation and it won’t be long before I’m up and running again. But, from now on, whenever I see someone limping or treading slowly with a little kink in their get-a-long—I’m going to be much more considerate of their condition.

I will certainly hold a door for them; carry a heavy package for them; help them up and down a flight of stairs; and do anything else to lend some assistance. My bad knee plight has actually been short-lived and will soon be over. Thank goodness. But for others who have to deal with permanent leg and knee impairments, my heart goes out to them.

Walking out to my garden this morning reminded me that I didn’t have the strength nor the leg power to do this simple task. It’s only been a week since my surgery so I know I will recover, but just the not doing such a simple task caused me to appreciate what I always took for granted.

It takes some grit

We take for granted the normal every day way of life on the farm. And it is well documented fact that this normal every day way of life tends to cause many health issues and numerous physical impairments for our bodies. We, farmers of the Heartland, are physically and mentally tough on ourselves and like to think that we possess true grit. Well, true grit or not, it’s a known fact that farmers (male or female) don’t take very good care of our bodies. And since they don’t take care of their bodies, many end up with permanent disabilities.

Because of these farm calamities, I’m including a poem today that I hope you clip and post on your refrigerator door. Read it and savor its message.

The poem comes from prairie poet Bruce Roseland of Seneca, S.D. With his permission, I have changed a few words so the poem would be directed specifically toward farm women and their close involvement with the farming operation.

Now, you male readers, don’t get uptight and feel that I’m leaving you out of the picture. You can change the words back to the male side of things or better yet contact Bruce and he can give you the male perspective.

Whatever the case, I hope you enjoy the poem and remember to ease up a bit this summer.


All the old gals in my neighborhood

have had one injury after another—

hobbled-up feet, broken bones,

knee replacements, hip repairs, shoulders dislocated—

all from being blind-sided by charging animals,

swinging gates, falling iron, and dumb things that happen

when you’re thinking of something else.

These women have lifted heavy objects improperly,

slogged across foot-sucking mucky yards,


jarred their backbones countless times

over rough terrain

because nobody else was around to do it,

because they had to,

because they did it yesterday,

because they are going to keep doing it

until they can’t.

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. E-mail her at: jgreen@itctel.com.