Fellowship of Christian Farmers
By Kevin Cernek
February 16, 2020
A couple of years ago, while shirt shopping, I stumbled across a pair of shoes that were on sale. I don’t really like shopping, so when I absolutely have to go, I try to get it all done at once, so I won’t have to do it again for a few years. I wasn’t really looking for new shoes, but the sale on these was too good to pass up so I bought a pair. I took them home and promptly put them in the closet and completely forgot about them.
My old shoes were just fine. It took a long time to break them in to the point where they didn’t hurt my feet. I have wide feet – as in EEE wide. It’s not easy breaking in new shoes. I usually break them in by wearing them for short periods of time so they will begin to take the shape of my feet. But for some reason, the last pair I bought just would not stop hurting my feet. I tried everything I could think of until finally, I stuffed them full of socks and put them under the legs of the baby grand piano sitting on the hardwood floor in the living room. That did the trick. I could finally wear them pain free.
Similarly, whenever I got a new baseball glove as a kid, it took weeks to break it in the way I wanted it. There were all kinds of suggestions out there on how to break a glove in. One was to put a baseball in it, tie it shut tight with twine and soak it in a five gallon bucket of water overnight. That seemed absolutely idiotic to me. I had had enough experience with leaving my glove out in the rain at night to know I wanted nothing to do with soaking it in water on purpose. Eventually I settled on a procedure that worked well. I put a baseball in the pocket and folded the glove closed over the baseball and parked the car on top of it overnight. The ole park-the-family-sedan-on-top-of-your-glove trick. One has to be patient when working with leather – whether it be shoes, gloves, or saddles (we’ve had our experience with saddles too).
Back to the shoes. After I get them broken in, I will wear them as long as I can until they wear out. When it comes to Sunday shoes, that may take years – or even decades because I only wear them for a few hours at a time once a week on Sunday morning. They just never wear out. If I’m not mistaken, my dad, who is 86 years old, still wears the same pair of Sunday shoes he wore when I was a kid. I don’t think he’s ever needed to get a new pair – so he hasn’t.
In the old days, Saturday night meant two things for us farm kids: 1) we all had to take a bath, and 2) we all had to polish our shoes so they’d be ready for Sunday. We’d rub the black gooey polish on with a rag, making sure every crease and crevice was filled with the stuff. Then we’d use a different rag and rub it off until our shoes shined. We’d then line them up on an old newspaper on the floor in front of the heat register. That was our Saturday night ritual. I still use the same shoe polish kit I had when I was a kid to polish my shoes today. Most people have never heard of such a thing because nobody wears shoes that need to be polished anymore.
Well, one day not too long ago, I got to looking at my shoes and decided they were starting to look a bit scruffy. The ole shoe polish just wasn’t doing the trick anymore so I went to the closet and dug the new pair out. They were surprisingly comfortable when I put them on, but I stillI braced myself for a painful Sunday of being on my feet all morning. I don’t do much sitting when I’m at church – unlike most of the other church goers. Good fitting shoes are a necessity.
On this particular Sunday, the new shoes fit so well that I didn’t even remember I was wearing them. That is, until people started commenting about how nice they looked. I was surprised that anyone even noticed. I mean, who looks at shoes? Apparently, a lot of people do. These new shoes are either exceptionally nice looking, or my old ones were exceptionally bad. I don’t know which, but I’m going to keep wearing the new ones.
We have a box in the back of our church where we collect old shoes for FCFI. The shoes we collect are still in good shape. We send them to third world countries where they don’t have shoes. Someone is going to get a good pair of size 10EEE Sunday shoes that still have a lot of miles on them (or kilometers, depending on where they end up).
Collecting shoes is a profitable fundraiser for FCFI. If you have old shoes, please save them and collect others and contact us and we will be glad to take them off your hands (or should I say “off your feet”?).
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7).