There’s a Norman Rockwell-styled advertisement featuring a cobbler diligently crafting some durable soles. Sketched in a moment where he is peering up from his trade to twinkle at the artist. White hair and matching mustache, he rests under a long apron dusty from effort. This poster is featured on a wall in the shoe repair shop entryway–on the border keeping customers away from the work area. It hangs over a stack of freshly repaired ostrich cowboy boots. Nearby pairs of unclaimed leather dress shoes await a special occasion. A set of tap shoes gleams under the fluorescent light.
And the owner of the shop ambles up–like the caricature on the wall come to life sans ‘stache. He brushes his white hair back, then wipes his hand on a long blue apron. He peers at the claim ticket and cranes his neck up to inspect the smiling face of my very tall brother, here to fetch some mended sneakers.
No credit cards, the sign read. No need. The fee was small, the repairs were honest. And the little old man went back to his duties with a nod and a request that we should have a nice day. We scuffed our shoes on our way to the car, mentally scanning the bottoms of our closets in a pledge to become return customers.
-Colorado Springs, Colorado