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Broken Foot



I broke my foot several weeks ago in what should have been an ankle sprain. I am now wearing a 5 pound “boot” that keeps the foot flat so the bone will heal. The incident reminded me how easy it is to have an accident just walking around.

Many years ago the safety shoe companies came out with the coolest thing: cowboy boots with steel toes. I couldn’t wait to buy a pair, having been raised in Arizona and having worked on a farm milking cows and all that. And of course I had to have a pair with the authentic tapered heels so that if I did have to rope a calf, I could leap off the horse and dig in the heels to bring the calf to a halt. In the mill. Really! Well, I was younger then.

I put the new boots on right there in the shoe trailer. I was just the coolest with pointed steel toes and tapered heels, ready for anything.

Loose gravel areas are fairly abundant in most mills. It took about 30 minutes of walking around for me to hit the first patch. When I did I found the tapered heals lacked stability and tweak there goes an ankle. Well, I didn't completely sprain the ankle but I came perilously close. It was a warning sign. I had scary tweaks several more times during the life of those boots. And when black liquor finally rotted the leather I pitched them for a safer pair of safety shoes.

There are many examples in our lives of the adage that what looks the best may not perform the best. When it comes to personal safety, sometimes we have to forgo appearance for function. I learned that the hard way and barely got away with it. Hopefully you are having better fortune.

In closing, we visited a mill last week that had a yellow stripe painted over every crack in the sidewalks that could cause a tripping hazard. Since the mill had been around for a while, there were a lot of yellow stripes. The major culprit was tree & plant roots. I guess we should locate trees away from sidewalks where there is room to anticipate this issue.


Gene Canavan is retired and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA


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