When I was a kid, growing up, Dad always had a shoeshine box in the cabinet. A couple of cans of Kiwi, a rag and a brush. Then, when I joined the military, one of the very first lessons I got was on shining shoes and boots. I remember Sunday afternoons in basic training, sitting around with Kiwi shoe polish and rags, spit-shining shoes. No self-respecting military man would venture out to formation in boots that didn't have a high-gleam. It was a mark of professionalism, and over the years I invested thousands of dollars on single cans of Kiwi boot polish.
Corcoran boots was especially amenable to a good spit-shine, and the boots were highly sought after, a step up from the issue boots. Many of us, with our first paycheck, went down and bought Corcorans, especially those of us who intended to make a career wearing boots.
The Army, of course, today wears rough-out leather, a style started by General Norman Schwarzkopf when he issued rough-out boots to his troops during Desert Storm. Schwarzkopf boots became a mark that you had been in the desert, and they weren't allowed to be worn stateside until after I retired in 1999. I doubt that the good soldiers of today's army spends much time shining boots.
But, I'm a cop, and I still shine boots, although not as often as I did when a soldier. But, this morning, a rainy, drizzly Monday, in a quiet house, seemed like just the time to put a little polish on my leather gear.