Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It happened so quickly

We've had more rain than usual and I decided to buy leather conditioner for my good smooth leather shoes to waterproof them. I had very little time today, but after teaching three students, receiving mail and another shipment, I drove to the bank, to Wal Mart, and to the famous local bootmaker's shop, James Leddy Boots. James died young a few years back. His family had their membership at the same church where Nannie and Dubbie went to church for the past 60+ years. Nannie is still there most Sundays. But I digress. Sort of.

I was mostly thinking about getting in, out, back home for a very fast lunch before teaching another four hours when I ran into the shop to buy the leather conditioner. It happened so quickly that I had no defense, no warning, no recourse, and no words. The smell. The soft, velvety, smell of leather being cleaned, worked, and lovingly designed into boots overwhelmed me with memories of Daddy's barber shop and the shoe shine stand that was in every shop where he worked. When I was a little girl Buddy was the "shiner" and he always called me Miss J. The deacon's bench from the shoe shine stand is still in my parents' house. Daddy would take my shoes to Buddy for a special shine now and then. I could still hear the sounds of rags slapping on leather and soft whistling in the background. And then, I suppose to break the reverie, I blurted out to the man who rang up my sale, "Is there anyone here who still remembers Dubbie?" And there was. And she said again, along with the man, how sorry they were that he passed away last year. I thanked them and took my little bottle to the car and just burst into tears. It wasn't their comments at all. It was that divine smell.