So on Christmas Eve, while I was running around doing the last of my shopping, I stopped by to see the Shoe Doctor.
But this isn’t the typical story of the young entrepreneur staking his small, hopeful claim like some sort of urban pioneer. See, James is probably old enough to be my grandfather.
I’ve been going to James for over a decade in various locations … you can find him in the lobby of the Quicken/Compuware headquarters. He’s been here for many years. “I don’t even remember now anymore,” he’ll tell you but he’s been there through all sorts of mayors, governors, presidents, politics, and prognostications.
As the smell of polish wafted up as he took care of my size nine and a half dress shoes, he reminded me that when you look through the papers of the past it will reveal that although we’ve been written off countless of times, we’ve survived.
It’s not that you get knocked down, or that you’re on the ropes, but that you get back up again. You keep moving forward.
We talked about how it’s so good to see all the people in the city with the businesses that have come down and the new residents, and how things have “changed a whole lot” in the last ten years, through the countless times we’ve talked. How yes, sometimes, it feels like two steps forward and one step back, but it’s still progress and although there is still much work to do this time around you can physically see it in so many ways.
He reminded me that “the hope of this city and region is its people.”
We always talk about sports, and he’s supremely hopeful about the Lions … we hadn’t won our playoff berth as of yet, but not only was he confident but also happy about how it would be good for the city and bring people together. One topic after another reminded me that we will win some, we will lose some but at the end of the day, as long as we keep our priorities straight and we have each other, we will make it through.
As we parted ways I couldn’t help but think that although I came to get my shoes shined, it turned out it was my soul that was brightened … sole and soul repair all in one fell swoop. A very important service as we come up on the New Year.