From: T.M. Schoewe
What a subject to write about, shoes, and selling them! Let me tell you about the business of selling shoes. That is what we did while we were enrolled in the seminary in Springfield, Illinois, in the middle of the 1940s.
Every Wednesday afternoon and evening when we didnít have class and all day on Saturdays, we sold shoes in a Thom McAn store across from the state capitol in order to pay for board and room and my tuition at the seminary. It did that. And seeing the capitol we often recalled how Abe Lincoln served as state senator of Illinois from that building and went on to become our president, who humbly yet with great courage led this nation through that terrible civil war.
Now after many years we look back to those days of selling shoes in Springfield and find it was an experience that really contributed to a great deal of good in our life. And it has often reminded me of how our Lord washed and wiped his disciplesí feet just 24 hours before He would be hanging on a cross for them and the rest of the world. You might read the gospel of John and see what He said about washing anotherís feet.
Back to selling shoes. It is humbling to sit on a low stool and remove a customerís shoes, although at the time we didnít give it any thought. The customers we dealt with were of what some people used to call ďa lower class.Ē They came because their shoes were pretty much shot and they could get new ones pretty cheap sometimes. Though at times some more well-to-do folks would come in and buy four or five pair of shoes to give to friends.
But sometimes there were no socks! Even when there were socks sometimes there were holes in them. Added to that were the smells or stink that called for an OOFTAH! But we were willing to overlook the smells because if we sold over $100.00 on a Saturday we received an extra 10 bucks as a bonus.
Selling shoes we were often drawn into interesting discussions, like where to go to church or what we thought about some doctrine, but it helped me appreciate what our Servant Lord and Saving Savior did when he humbly washed His disciplesí feet on the evening before Good Friday. Selling shoes has helped me see we are all equal and at the same time has helped me to be a better person, a better Chaplain and pastor, a better father, and even a better old man. Go ahead! Sell shoes if you have a chance!
P.S. Tell you what. If you donít learn to serve, you will never be a really happy person.
P.S.S This article is dedicated to my wife and faithful servant Donna who surprised us all by passing away this past Thursday morning at Gundersen Hospital in La Crosse. We appreciate your prayers of thanksgiving for her 94 years with us. She was a gift to me and her five children and loved Winona to no end. Sine cera!