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Despite This We Stay for October 4th, 2012

by Carol Dunn
Have you looked at your feet lately? If you live in Huerfano County, maybe you don’t want to look at them. That’s because they will scare you if you look closely. Like me, you may be wondering, where did those feet come from? Maybe we were abducted by aliens and they conducted weird experiments on our feet, like exchanging them for sasquatch feet. What other explanation is there?
Maybe it’s the dry air, maybe the soils or the wind, but my feet look like I’ve been walking across hot coals and beds of nails for the past four months. It takes all winter to get them to the point where people won’t start screaming when I walk into a room wearing sandals. Then summer rolls around. I’m out in the garden; I’m working in the barn; I’m planting trees; I’m trampling grasshoppers. I try wearing socks, but for some reason, socks don’t protect feet very well in Huerfano.
Somehow the Huerfano dirt manages to find its way to your feet and under your toenails so they look like you’ve been jumping in cow pies and squishing manure up between your toes. They become redneck geek feet. And even if you wear double socks, all kinds of weird things will still happen to your feet. For instance, despite the laws of physics, an adobe bug will manage to get into your shoe, through two layers of socks, and get all squashed into your foot, turning it a rusty color. This does not wash off. It is an all-natural, organic, permanent dye made from adobe bugs.
Another thing that happens to feet is they get stuck by stickers. We have a plethora of stickery plant materials around here – goatheads, cacti, pine needles, straw, splinters, thistles, aspen trees. [Oh sure, aspen trees seem docile enough. But, take my word for it, if you get mad and kick one, it will hurt your foot.] And it’s hard to get splinters and spines out of feet because you have to get into one of those yoga positions to even see the bottom of your foot, let alone operate on it with a pair of tweezers.
There are also living creatures to beware of. For instance, if you tramp on a bee, it should die, right? But no. First it stings you, then it dies. Ants are worse. A bunch of them will sneak up on your foot, crawl down inside your socks, and then the red leader gives a signal so they all bite at once. Of course, they don’t know when to die. They bite you again and again until they get tired of it or you rip off your shoes and socks and crush them for good measure (the ants, not the socks). After that you develop large red bumps where they bit you, plus you develop a great hatred for ants.
The last thing that contributes to the ugly foot syndrome is age. I don’t know too many people whose feet get lovelier as they get older. Fungus sets in. Toenails get snaggly. Heels get crusty. Bunions and plantar warts emerge. Where there used to be cute little toe hairs, most of those disappear, and the one or two that are left turn into three-inch-long mutants overnight and scare you half out of your wits when you notice them.
If you work outdoors, or if you get old, there’s not much you can do about ugly Huerfano feet. Buy yourself a pair of boots, and don’t look too close.