Where in the world did you get the name Barefoot Indian you ask?
Believe it or not, there is a story behind it.
Please be aware that this story is based on a true story and that all persons involved in this story are real and not made up.
First of all, let me start by saying that I do run around barefoot. A lot. In fact, I’ve been known to work cows barefoot much to the chagrin of Drover who has told me time and again that working cows requires boots. Preferably boots with steel toes. To this day, I still do not own a pair of steel toed boots. I have yet to find a fashionable pair.
But that wasn’t the case with the particular moment when I was bestowed the beloved name of The Barefoot Indian. No. You see, on that particular day, I decided the farm needed a little sprucing up. The rule on the farm is, “If you see something that needs to be done, do it.”
That is why I thank the Lord daily for my bad eyesight.
When I put my contacts in that day, I noticed the lawn was littered with small bits of lumber, shingles and wet plastic shingle bags. They must have been there for a while because it had been a week or two since we had added custom dormers and a new roof to our old house. Darn eyesight.
When I finally noticed that nobody else had noticed the mountains of trash on our front lawn I made each member of my family an eye appointment. Then I proceeded to load up the wheelbarrow with the garbage. I hauled the load of mostly wet plastic shingle bags to the burn barrel and decided to try and burn them. The first eight matches were of no help whatsoever. So I threw in match numbers nine and ten for good measure, gave up and decided to go take a shower.
When I got out of my cool, relaxing shower, I threw on some clothes, wrapped my wet hair in a towel and headed downstairs to grab a quick snack.
That’s when I noticed flames and a huge ball of smoke coming from the other side of my livestock barn near the burn barrel, adjacent to the newly filled hay barn and somewhere in the vicinity of the combine. In my panic, I grabbed the cordless phone and called 911 and asked for the phone number to the fire department. They told me they didn’t know the number to the fire department and asked if I had an emergency.
An emergency? As in a medical emergency?
“Uh, well…” I replied, “I was burning some trash and there is a lot of smoke and I’m not sure if… on second thought, I remember the police department’s number, I’ll give them a call and see if I can get the number to the fire department.”
I have no idea why I know the number to the police station. I’ve never even called the police station.
When I got ahold of the local police department, they kindly relayed the fire department’s phone number. But by the end of the call, I had calmed down enough to think straight and realize I needed to evaluate the situation and see if I could handle the blaze myself. After all, I certainly didn’t want a bill from the fire department if I didn’t need their assistance.
So I ran out to evaluate the conflagration, forgetting my shoes and socks altogether. When I got to the other side of the barn, I realized the fire was in fact manageable. It was burning around the tractor, the hay cutter, the combine, the bulldozer, the hay rake and was heading for the hay baler which still had some hay hanging out. I decided to start there. So I grabbed a nearby shovel and began fighting the grass fire. In my bare feet. With a towel on my head.
Gosh, I sure hope my neighbors aren’t watching with binoculars.
I was working so furiously that the towel began getting in my way, so I had to shrug it off. It was at that moment that I heard sirens in the distance and noticed my neighbor racing down the road in his pickup truck. Miraculously, I had just extinguished the last of the flames, but there was no hiding the damage. When the passenger got out of the car, he exclaimed, “Wow. Fighting a fire barefoot. You really must be Indian.”
When Drover got home from work, I knew I had some explaining to do. Unable to concoct a story that would glamorize my foolish carelessness, I decided to tell the truth and hope he wasn’t too upset by what could have happened had the equipment or hay caught fire.
“So,” he replied. “You put this grass fire out all by yourself?”
I nodded in confirmation.
I could see the corners of his mouth turning up ever so slightly.
“Sweetheart, you got lucky. But for future reference… 911 is the number for the fire department. And uncontrolled grass fires are considered emergencies. Next time, put some boots on.”