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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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They were young and stupid with some party left in their veins

Nancy Littlefield

One of the blogs that I check regularly is “In the Shadow of the Steeple” by Nancy Littlefield. Littlefield is chief nursing officer at the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. Most of the time, she writes about her family, her favorite recipes and her beliefs. But her interests are wide, and her writing often sparkles. A recent example is this one, which she posted last week while attending a conference of healthcare executives in Chicago:

Monday morning I got dressed in one of my business suits that I brought here to Chicago, and I was trying to decide the shoes. I think because of all the walking and running that I have been doing my feet did not want to go into the black heels I had packed. The bad part of having arthritis in the feet is that sometimes the cute shoes just don’t feel good.

My classes were in two separate buildings today. I knew I would do a lot of walking between the different meetings, so I went for the nonfashionable but ever so comfortable Danskos. If you are a nurse reading my blog, you know exactly what shoes I am writing about.

With decision made and knowing I wasn’t exactly going to be on the cover of Glam, I headed out to my first meeting which was in another building across the street from the hotel. I stepped outside the Hyatt to cross the street and found a group of men sitting on the steps, still with their St Paddy’s shirts and green and gold beads around their neck and a brown paper bag or two. They were busy speaking loudly about how they were going to get home.

I crossed the street in front of them, and as I was halfway across I heard, “That’s a nice suit you’re wearing but what a dumb-a** pair of shoes.”  I walked a few more steps and started to feel that feeling that I had when I wasn’t picked for the favorite team for kickball in sixth-grade gym class. Keep walking, my head said. Turn around, said my heart. I turned and looked at these four men sitting on the steps. Young and stupid and probably still with some party left in their veins.

I ignored my head and went with the heart and made the decision to walk back to them. While they shifted and fumbled and didn’t know what to make of me, I sat down next to the man who dumb-a**’d my shoes.

I said, “You’re right. I have a great suit. Good eye in picking that up. The shoes? They’re not my favorite either. But I have arthritis in my feet and wearing these shoes doesn’t remind me of that.”

They said in unison “Oh, we’re sorry, ma’am. Our bad. We didn’t know. Sorry.”

“No problem,” I said, as I walked back across the street, wondering what possessed me to turn around and do that. Sometimes you have to let young and stupid go. Not me today.

(Littlefield’s blog, In the Shadow of the Steeple, can be seen here.)