22 November 2015

Friends, redux

     I've done a couple of recent posts about a favorite pair of shoes that were old when I bought them. Their rebirth in Bluefields was a surprising treat: a treat that they could be reborn and a treat to watch people use skills seemingly lost in Virginia and maybe in other parts of the U.S. as well.
     I showed up at Los Hermanos #2 in time for an appointment I'd made the day before and was given a seat so I could wait rather than wander around town barefoot with my crutches. The shoes were given to an apprentice who sat at one side of the shop's front door under the watchful eye of, apparently, one of the hermanos, who sat at the other.  
     Then surgery began with cleaning the soles of the shoes themselves and cutting new soles to general size and shape from rolls of sole material.

     Both the newly cut sole material and the bottom of the old shoes were roughed up really good with sandpaper...

     and a viscous glue was applied to the entire surface of each of the two pieces which were then pressed together by hand, followed by a few taps with a hammer.

     The apprentice handed each shoe, with freshly glued new piece of sole material, to the hermano, who very carefully cut away the excess, fitting the new to the old. 

     Each shoe was then returned to the apprentice who as carefully cut a channel in which a heavy waxed thread would - in addition to the glue - bind the old top to the new bottom...even around that awkward little toe indentation which, until I found Los Hermanos, made it seem as though I was finally going to lose these old friends.

     The final phase of this resurrection was to sew the pieces together, by hand, one stitch at a time.

     When the job was done I paid the boss, gave both guys my sincere thanks.....and walked out in my new shoes.