I’ve looked down upon the sad-looking Red Wings for a couple of months. Late summer and early fall found them stowed on the floor of the backseat of my truck. They fit the bill as something that looked to have been “rode hard and put away wet.”
After spending some time walking about in lighter footwear throughout the summer, I grabbed the Iron Rangers out of the truck and started wearing them again as soon as I sensed an autumn chill. They felt wonderful, but they looked dilapidated. More lightweight shoes are okay for summer sauntering, but when the trees begin to turn, my feet are happier in wrinkled leather with welt soles. For the record, I believe it’s entirely psychological.
I stayed up late last night. I’ve been binge-watching a few shows on Netflix and got caught up in a storyline while ignoring my drooping eyelids. As I made my way toward the bedroom, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the boots where I had kicked them off earlier. The term, there’s no time like the present, overcame my forward progress toward cool sheets.
I rooted in the under-sink cupboard and found the recently purchased brown shoe creme and a can of Huberd’s Shoe Grease. I’ve been using Huberd’s for about thirty-five years.
Prying off the stepped tin top with a flat-bladed screwdriver is pleasurable in itself. No silly screwtops spoil the nostalgia. Once I tossed the lid on the counter with a satisfying metallic ‘ting,’ the odor of smoky pine permeated the air around me. It’s intoxicating. Pine tar and beeswax are the main ingredients; naturally, it works well.
I used to condition my footwear in front of the woodstove in my first home. I waterproofed my boots more regularly in those days. I recalled coming inside, chilled to the bone, and allowing the fire to work its magic.
Being warm is a good feeling, but the human body accepts heat with far more enthusiasm when your teeth are chattering. I miss that. I had no streaming services and few channels on cable, so my boots became entertainment on some of those nights.
I finished up and set the rehabilitated boots on top of my propane stove so the constantly burning pilot light could slowly warm the leather overnight, allowing the pine tar and beeswax infusion to complete the process that my bare hands had started. I squirted a bit of Dawn dish detergent on my palms and scrubbed away the water repellency that was a side-effect of the hands-on application process.
I cut the lights and headed down the hall, still smelling like I had been sitting around a fire fueled with chunks of pine. I suppose, metaphorically, I’d done that.
Too often, I let the little jobs go until they become much more challenging. No, I’m not just talking about my scuffed-up boots. I can apply the lesson to many other things I tend to ignore.
Nope, it’s not a big thing. It’s just one last thing, an accomplishment, before settling into bed. I’ll pay better attention for the next few months. As the last thing before sleeping, I rekindled the simple joy of keeping things in order.
From the Jagged Edge of America, I remain.
Thank you for your support in the Buy Me A Coffee app on my webpage. Your donations keep this train running, and your generosity is overwhelming. Thank you. For those that follow me on the different channels, please know that I am writing feverishly now, working on my next book. If I don’t get back to you in messaging and comments as fast as I usually would, I apologize. The colder weather gives me an excuse to stay in, write longer, and better, we hope. I still read every comment, I promise. Thanks for your financial support. I have the best friends/fans in the world. I know that. Sincerely, Tim Cotton