When I was a boy, my father scrounged scraps of oak plank and made himself a beautiful shoe shine box, of his own design, with his initials “ONB” carved on one end and chiseled greenery on the other. He made a similar box for me, bearing my initials “REB”.
As boys, my four sons often watched me shine my shoes, asking me if I would please shine theirs. Then they began asking if they could use my shoe shine stuff to shine their own shoes. They have enjoyed using my shoe shine box during their boyhood years.
This Christmas I presented to each of my sons their own shoe shine box. It was time for them to have their own, to carry on the tradition. For lack of tools, time, and skill, I simplified the design. But I still find their shoe shine boxes elegant.
I had planned to make the shoe shine boxes over the Thanksgiving weekend while staying with my parents. Caleb (16) asked if he could stay one night with me, so I decided to let him in on the secret and help.
After Caleb left, Grandpa, the original shoe shine box carpenter, helped me finish the boys’ boxes.
My sons may be the only living boys to have such shoe shine boxes, in a three-generation genealogy of shoe shine boxes, made by their father and grandfather.
I hope my sons find years of enjoyment and pride in shining their shoes with their shoe shine boxes. And who knows: perhaps they will make such boxes for their own children someday.
I hope you will find a unique and meaningful way to connect with your sons and daughters, and to carry on the traditions of your generations.