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Veteran mother a shining example for Veteran daughter

When I was younger, my mother would always come home, sit on the couch, and take a deep inhale and long exhale. I gathered work must have been rough. She would then ask if I would help take her boots off.

Her boots! Her boots were the reason I wanted to join the service. Her boots were black and leather and always had an immaculate shine. The things I noticed about her boots are what made me the soldier I was and the VA employee I am today.

She instructed me on exactly how the boots were to be removed.

Loosen up the strings.

Grab the heel of the boot with one hand and the tip of the boot with the other.

Pull from under the heel and slide the boot up and off.

She showed me how to polish the boots (that shine!)

We used Kiwi shoeshine.

Take a torn white t-shirt and wrap it around the tip of your fingers.

Using a circular motion and pressure, apply the shoeshine.

To get that “shine,” spit on the boot.

Repeating all steps and the spit shine.

We did this every day for years. My mother and those boots provided me with the foundation of who I am today. They taught me many things.

Keep shining

Loosen up. Take a mental health day, go to the beach or just sit at home and breathe.

Keep shining. When you walk, talk, dress, there should always be a little spit shine.

Discipline. Keep yourself together. Rember when to speak and when to “pull up your tongue.” Always stay a day ahead. Prepare for the next day on the job as if it were your first. You’ll never run late searching for the other boot if you always put the pair in the same place the night before.

Pictured above, Macey Wright (left) with her daughter Le’Norissa Armour at Fayetteville VA.

I wanted a pair of those leather, black, shiny boots. Unfortunately, by the time I joined, they were issuing tan canvas boots. Though I never physically received a pair, I carry those boots, her boots, in my spirit to this day.

Welcome to your local American Legion! We will no longer be open for dinner on Mondays and Tuesdays.