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Driven to grounding

The day’s heat impressed the need for a cold iced tea and some conditioned air. I had abandoned all hope for a productive garden. The plot was three feet high in weeds. About to give up and mow it leaving the garden to the grasses, a still, small voice called to me again, “Tend your garden.” I rarely looked in the garden direction; it convicted me of my laziness. Why did I start a garden anyway? I still need to finish the house build, I am failing my classes at Minot State University, and my employer is not ecstatic about my performance selling stereos. Fresh out of the US Navy may have been aggressive, making my plans for a successful life. It was building a house on forty acres, converting a field into a forest. Full-time college and an eight-hour-a-day job is how you spell o-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-e-d.

“Jimmy, why have you let your garden go to weed?” My grandmother never parsed words. She said it the way she saw it. “Grandma, I can’t get to it. I am underwater in piles of work; the garden calls for me when I want to rest or have a cold beer.” It is easier to buy carrots and tomatoes. Grandma Edna stopped by with my mother to see how I was and a friendly visit. Instead, Edna convicted me with these words, “Jimmy, let’s all go to the garden and pull those weeds.” “What? I thought you came to visit, not pull weeds in the ninety-degree heat of summer. Grandma, you’re old, and gardening is tough on me, much less my eighty-something grandma.” “Jimmy, my bones could use a dip in the soil.” “What are you talking about?”
Both Mom and Grams chuckled and started for the door. I had no choice but to follow.

When we reached the garden, Grandma “Grams” instructed me about the essentials of gardening—”take off your shoes and socks.” “What?” “take off your shoes and socks.” “Is this a joke?” “just do it and learn from your grandma!” “If you insist, grandma.” Two barefoot old ladies bent at the waist and started pulling weeds.

Four hours later, drenched in sweat with feet as black as the soil they bathed in, the weed patch became eden. I felt great; barefoot gardening healed me, body, mind, and soul. “Grandma, what is with this barefoot requirement?” “Barefoot gardening is where I get my minerals and connect to the soil.” Little did I know how those words could change a life. I never returned to the garden barefoot; I am still determining why. Thanks to two old ladies, I harvested carrots, peas, corn, and potatoes.

I am seventy-three, and the ladies are home with their maker. Linda and I have a grand family garden. Linda’s grandmother did the same thing when she gardened, claiming it helped her arthritis. Last night I decided barefoot gardening was a tradition and took a dip in the soil.

God created us and placed us in the Garden of Eden. Naked means we were shoeless; we walked in the soil in the cool of the day with God grounded in Him. Then the invention of synthetic rubber, soon we wore sneakers, Nike became a global company, and everyone started getting sick.

Grandma Edna’s practice wisdom has since become a global research phenomenon and industry called “Earthing.” I watched a YouTube movie entitled, “Earthing, the remarkable science of Grounding” at”


Earthing has had several peer-reviewed studies with proven results. The industry makes earthing shoes, earthing pads to place bare feet where you sit, and grounding blankets and sheets for sleep. Just google it, and you will find plenty of information.

I will make a sign and place it on the gate post to our family’s garden with this message, “Barefoot Gardening only, in honor of Edith, Edna, Jemima, Lily, and Lois.” Because of these wise ladies, I have all the evidence I need to shed the shoes and garden.

Thanks, Ladies!