Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The cobbler in my neighborhood works in a cramped, messy little store filled with the accoutrements of his trade: shoes hanging from hooks, old magazines for customers waiting shoeless, leather shoe inserts, piles of shoeshine, a clock that reads an hour behind schedule. You open the door to his world with a rush of church music. Gospel choirs and organ music fill the workshop. The cobbler speaks with an accent reminiscent of Africa. He is old, with graying hair and a stooped walk. He rarely meets your eye, except when he hands you the products of his work. Then he looks up and calls you friend.