Pass It Down - Heirloom Boots

The sense of smell is the strongest link to memory. Passing a stranger on the street might take you back to a past love, a spring rain harnessing the green memories of whistling through blades of grass.

For many of us, the combination of leather and polish transport us to Dad. It was fun to clod around, little feet in his big boots, imagining ourselves as men and grabbing the toy wrench to help him fix something.

Stepping into Dad’s shoes was getting ready to be the man we wanted to emulate - that giant in our homes, the one who picked us up when we skinned our knees, the one who read stories in all the funny voices, and the guy we’d jump on every time we saw him relaxing.

It’s one of those rituals of life. At least once a month, Dad would pull out the antique wooden box and bring it over to his thirsty leather boots. He’d flip the lid open on its old brass hinges and a conversation of fragrance wrapped the air, a mixture of dark and bright that has a quiet strength and warmth. It was time to learn something, and he’d show us and hope that we’d want to help.

A great pair of boots can last lifetimes, passed down as a powerful representation of work and care. The meditative motions coupled with patient attention is time well spent.

It’s planning for the future - a time to teach and a chance to listen. It’s one of those rare, calm moments between bouts of energetic play - an inheritance beyond coins.

Those big boots fit perfectly now, and we grab the old wooden box from the closet, pop the lid open, and breathe the memories. We call our sons over to learn how to do what Dad taught us.

And then the boots are ready, ready for another bout of fixing something for the family or going to work so that we can, at the end of the day, play with the kids or get jumped on while relaxing.