Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)

Shoe shine

June 2001
Second Wind
Lomita, California

  Dear Friends:

  When I was a child, my Mom and Dad gave me a new pair of shoes once a year. Since my birthday is the day before Christmas, this was my traditional birthday present. After going to the shoe store and looking into an x-ray fluoroscope to wiggle my feet to see if there was enough room to grow, the sale was done. There was little choice of style at Latorra's shoe store in Boulder, Colorado.

  As soon as we got home, my Mom made me shine these new shoes. I was curious why such new shiny shoes needed another shoe shine. "It will protect the leather", she said. So, I would sit on the kitchen floor with newspaper spread, and shine my new shoes. Since I was shining shoes anyway, I also shined my old pair of shoes, which were getting pretty scuffed.

  Recently, at an airport when I had some time, I had my shoes shined by a professional shoe shine man. Women are also getting into the business of shoe shining because it pays pretty well. We talked about the importance of shiny shoes to protect the leather and also for appearance. The man who put a nice shine on my traveling shoes told me, "My mother made us shine our shoes every Sunday morning before going to Sunday School". She said, "It protects the leather and makes you look good in church." Is anybody listening?

  Your friend,

  Thomas Petty, MD

Published: Jan 31 2002