I love cobblers. I love that they work with their hands at a craft that has been around for eons. I love that they repair things. In an age of built in obsolescence, there is something so satisfying in having a pair of boots returned to you better than when you last saw them.
When I was a little girl, my mother taught me how to sew. She was a seamstress, and there was always bits of fabric about. As my mother worked away on her overlock machine, I would sit on the floor beside her and make dresses for my Barbie dolls. They were the best dressed dolls in the neighbourhood. To this day, I still love to sew.
In Montreal, there was a store that sold parts for everything under the sun. I remember going there with my father. When the door was pushed open, the little brass bell at the top of the door would tinkle. Once inside, you would be visually assaulted by stacks, and shelves and reams of "watchamaycallits", "doodads" and "thingamabobs". A man would eventually appear, shuffling from the back of the store and take his place behind the cluttered counter. "How can I help you?", and a conversation about size, serial numbers and adapters would ensue. The conversation between the man and my father would leave me free to explore. It felt like being immersed in a cabinet of curiosities.
And what of the butcher and the baker? Sawdust on the floor, green plastic strip of grass separating different cuts, or the overwhelming smell of butter and burnt sugar, and neat piles of fresh bread in brown paper bags.
So, taking my boots to the cobbler's on Second Ave, in Saskatoon was like a pilgrimage, and I was not let down.