When I worked downtown, I made the acquaintance of one of the – if not the – city’s remaining shoe shiners. He always has a smile and a hello for everyone who passes by his shop, and knows absolutely everyone who is down there on a regular basis. Heck, he knows me, and I don’t generally wear shine-able shoes.
Last year the newspaper featured a human interest story about him, how he got started, how he came to be in his present location, that kind of thing, and the one quote of his that really stuck with me is “You can’t make a deal with a dirty heel.” He’s probably right, but more than the accuracy, the saying appealed to me as a potential sampler, although it took me more than a year to get around to doing anything about it. With an alphabet from Better Homes and Gardens 2001 Cross Stitch Designs and my beloved PCStitch, I came up with this and stitched it up for him:
I tried to keep the colours masculine – doing “dirty” in a shoe-splattered brown was my dad’s idea, and I think it worked perfectly. When I went downtown for lunch the other day I stopped by his shop to deliver the finished product, and I think he was rather surprised by my humble little gift.