This upcoming Memorial Day as I remember Florentino Mendez, my mind goes back to when I was a little girl sitting at my grandpa’s feet.
I sat Indian-style and watched him scatter newspapers on the floor, laying out the shoes in a neat row and placing an old wooden box beside them. Inside the box, he kept brushes, old socks, rags, and cans of black polish.
“You gonna spit and shine shoes,” I squealed.
With one hand in a shoe and the other in an old sock, Grandpa rubbed the wax back and forth, polishing the leather. I never tired from following his hands, moving like flashes of lightning.
He always rose before dawn and believed in the saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” He prided himself on discipline, stemming from his years in the military…
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