A little glue, a little dirt


My old and dedicated to yard work sneakers might be on their final lap.

That may not be completely true. Iím bringing them in to the repair shop. A bit of the all-purpose-extra-strength glue and the one with the flappy outer sole should be back at it in a day or two. Might even be able to repair one or two spots on the other one.

For those that arenít sure what Iím talking about, I retire my older sneakersÖ by putting them to work. Anyone that has gone outside with good intentions, clean sneakers and a lawn trimmer understands why old and dirty sneakers are the more preferable gear out on the lawn, when gardening, and for other assorted digging in the dirt endeavors. You tend to be a little less upset when the older footwear comes back inside completely green.

Problem for me is that the sneakers tend to reach a certain point before I toss them on the workbench in the garage. A hole around the toe would be one likely issue. A flappy sole another nuisance. All of which means Iím often bringing the sneakers to Terryís crafting workshop, where the best adhesives are to be found, and a little bit of maintenance effort is put in. Bit of glue hereÖ bit of glue thereÖ tape to hold things tight for a day or so while the glue driesÖ and that should about do it.

Thereís a classic joke about something old, usually applied to things like junk cars, that is built around the idea of not washing it because itís actually the dirt holding everything together. This morning, I made the repairs and it would be safe to say this isnít the first time that this pair has been exposed to a bit of glue. (Or the second time. Or third. Truth is probably clear of a half-dozen repairs, but Iím not officially keeping count.) And as I took the top off the tube and prepared to fix the latest issues, it occurred to me that the idea of what is holding them together might be worth considering for these sneakers. Would I be using them again? Yes. Would they actually be fine for what I have planned for them? Yes. If you cleaned them up, and took away the glue Iíve used on them, would there be much left? Debatable.

AgainÖ not quite ready to concede they are being prepped for the last round of work before the trash pile. AlsoÖ wouldnít be accurate to say thereís nothing left but the glue Iíve added. But the truth found in the joke is true enough to make me wonder about the things I salvage and fuss over and canít throw away or replace. Sometimes itís just being stingy and frugal. Sometimes itís a bit more.

I have an old jigsaw stored with my tools. I highly doubt if I will ever plug it in again. It is quite literally more than five decades old. Itís clunky and metal and awkward and not quite right. If you set up a blade and plugged it in, it will act like a saw and cut things. Really doesnít cut them in a straight line. Might not create anything even close to a smooth edge. But there is no argument that it runs. It does.

That jigsaw was also something my father handed me many years ago. One of the first tools I added to my collection after moving out on my own. I have memories of it in my hands as a kid, on those days when I was trusted to make a cut or two while working on something around the house.

Thereís stuff like that all over the house. Not necessarily with the meanings offered by nostalgia and emotion such as what the jigsaw has going for it, but things that are well worn and repaired for service beyond any original expectations.

Sweatshirts with plenty of stitchesÖ youíd rarely put one on if you were headed out to do anything special, but itís the very first thing you look at on a chilly day when youíll be staying in. Iíve got them. Youíve got them. And our closets are packed with them.

Looks like those sneakers are going to make it through the summer. Repairs werenít as bad as I feared. Iíll be moving on to winter boots and heavier shoes for the winter, so itís likely these old sneakers will be set aside soon and then actually make it to return of the next season of outdoor activities.

Now itís time for me to go check that tire on the wheelbarrow. Wood is cracked near the mounting pieces, and actually rotting away a bit. But I think with a small piece of scrap wood, a screw or two, maybe some glueÖ good as new.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com