Here’s a change of pace from the usual poetry.
One of the only times I feel like a human being is when I’m polishing my shoes.
My collection is respectable. I tend to go English for boots, Italian for shoes. Kiton, Santoni, John Lobb, Edward Green. Always handmade. A lot of people don’t like the narrow toe box of Italian shoes. I am not one of those people.
This morning, however, I’m wearing American. By Alden of Middleborough, Massachusetts—shell cordovan nine-eyelet boots, cap-toe, plain, plaza last, Color No. 8.
Though I’ve spent time abroad, I consider myself quintessentially American.
I keep my shoe care supplies in a WWI-era ammunition box which my grandfather some decades ago had fashioned into a shinebox—complete with a cast-iron footrest fixed to its weathered hardwood lid.
From the box I retrieve his ancient horsehair brush, made by Melco of New York. I’ve never found another horsehair brush which could compete with his. I don’t know if that company still manufactures them, or even if it still exists, but a legacy of a kind lives on in this brush.