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On the Farm: Barefoot and Free … May 13, 2011

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

The other day I went out into my backyard to pick up a discarded door hanger that had randomly floated into my backyard. We’ve had several windy days in Arizona this spring.

I struck out barefooted to pick it up and began to gingerly walk across my graveled backyard. I couldn’t do it. Hurt my feet too much. Had to go back inside and put on my shoes.

Had I been on the farm, I would have cruised across the sharp bits of colored rock in my bare feet and not thought a thing about it. Life in the suburbs, or the city, might make you tough in some areas, but it “citifies” you in others. You get whussy …

Well, hey, we start out barefooted!

We grew up barefoot. Or, at least it seemed like it. We played in the mud barefooted, sometime did our chores barefooted, did it all barefooted.

I remember Grandma Murphree watching my brothers and me when Mom and Dad were on some farm trip. Grandma Murphree would tell our parents when they got back that she spent most of her time either looking for our shoes or telling us to put our shoes on.

Take a closer look and you'll notice both Curt (far left) and Patrick are barefoot. In front of our old Maricopa farm house with Aunt Rusty and Mom (far right).

“I’ve never seen kids walk more places barefooted than my grandkids!” she’d say, all the while wearing a grin on her face.

Going barefoot saved time. We got out the door faster. The only drawback was when gooey stuff would ooze between the toes; not thinking you’d stick your fingers between your toes only to discover it was chicken poop. Or something else.

Me (with my boots) and Brent. Doesn't it feel like growing up you're always putting shoes on and off. So hey, just go barefoot!

No worries just wipe it on your jeans and continue your journey.

And brothers could run faster barefooted. Brent would kick off his sneakers shooting them high into the air and tackle me before his shoes even landed. I could never outrun him. Darn.

And, at the end of the day, when we’d been out working in the Pistachio orchard or cotton field and had to wear work boots, the best feeling was untying laces, pulling off shoes and socks and dunking our sore, hot feet in the irrigation water in the ditch.

Parents calculate the time they’ll need to get their kids ready by how much time it takes to gather up kids, socks and shoes and get everything put on. So, go barefoot. At least in Arizona our great weather let us do that a bit more. Though a hot sidewalk baking in the middle of the summer can fry little feet.

Yup, living in the suburbs has made me whussy. Now, where are my shoes?


1. Pennee - May 13, 2011

nd yes you kids could walk on the hot sand and sticker patches by the end of summer.

2. Delia Tarango-Halley - May 13, 2011

Yup, I use to walk around bare foot out side. Now if I try I grimace because my feet have become too soft. But the minute I get home the shoes come off. In Maricopa where we lived there was this area on the side of the road that was all sand and we called it the Moose Moss. I dont remember why it was named that. Anyways in the summer time I guess because of boredom we would dare each other to run across the Moose Moss. We would do it but I guess because our little feet were so callaused it didnt burn our feet but boy was it hot! Good times.

3. Julie Murphree - May 13, 2011

Love that … Moose Moss. Classic memories.