A farmer's feet are possibly the most tender part of his anatomy.
Consider his chest, exposed to the sun's rays after those long hours on top of his combine whilst tilling his rows of neat winter wheat. Consider his face, nut brown from three generations of Zimbabwe suntan passed down from father to son. Consider his arms, immensely strong from years of throwing around 50kg bags of fertiliser..
Consider his legs peering out from beneath those ubiquitous khaki shorts, tanned , bronzed and hirsute , from the hem of the shorts to the ankle where the tops of the sockless vellies start !!
But those feet, tender as a baby's "you know what."
Now consider the perfect picture of a Zimbabwe district police station.
The rubber tree perimetre fence, a legacy from those awful colonialists, the gum arabica oozing out of the bark of the struggling, hapless, stunted acacia trees.
The rows of starkly whitewashed rocks demarcating the paths to and from the charge office, to the the prison cells , the parking spaces and the like, all fighting for space with the indestructible ink flowers.
Now consider the paths, neatly lined with a thick layer of granite chips and then think of a combination of the two, the farmers lily white feet, tender as the baby's you know what, and the granite chips....ouch !!
There were a lot of tender toes last week when that lawless bunch were arrested and thrown into the cells to languish unrepentently for their terrible sins!!
On with the handcuffs, off with the vellies, two items of clothing only allowed for these fiendish thugs. Mind you not much chance of catching cold on those cold winters' nights cos they were so jam packed into the cells that they could hardly sit down, let alone sleep.
Cold concrete floors, no light bulbs, (globes are expensive after all and the coffers are empty .......) two blankets of extremely dubious cleanliness per fourteen people!!
What sort of treatment can you expect after all when you are an heinous criminal and have been incarcerated in jail for refusing to vacate the farm you bought and paid for.
" The Inyathi Holiday Camp" , the "Nyamandhlovu Guest House" and the "Esigodini Hilton" were just three of the thousands of police stations countrywide last week where these notorious felons were held for their terrible sins.
But I digress, back to the farmers' feet.
Can you imagine those burly, khaki clad, vellieless fellows, oohing and aahing across the granite chips in their tender pearly white bare feet, towards their accommodation, as guests of the government. ? The mind virtually boggles.
But no amount of admonishment would soften the hardened hearts of these champions of the law until their hapless charges were safely locked behind bars.
What they did not know however, is that it is impossible to get a good farmer down.
Three times a day they were allowed out of their cells at Inyathi, an hour at a time and the scenes enacted by the inmates were greatly worrying to the warders.
Picture these barefoot fellows, nothing daunted, their wonderful wives had been allowed to bring them a bit of supper, but it was sundown and we all know that at sundown, a sundowner and a braai are the order of the day, and because nothing was forthcoming from the member in charge, the farmers arranged their own braai.
Out came the imaginary forty four gallon drum cut in half lengthwise, filled with warmly glowing mopani wood just at the right temperature. Out came the fictitious forks, each festooned with a piece of vors securely pinioned on the end.
Clenched firmly in each felon's hand, elbow crooked, little finger strategically placed, was a imaginary little brown bottle, and that was nectar indeed !! Every so often someone would turn the rump steak and the lamb chops with the braai fork, raucous laughter rang around the cramped compound, the guards looked on dumfounded.
Such hilarity from these prisoners who should have been much chastened and dejected by their incarceration !! Such insubordination had not been seen before between these grimy prison walls !!
Jokes flew fast and furious, gallons of beer was consumed, great quantities of meat was eaten with relish and a good time was had by all......