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Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023
Good morning to you!

Whatever happened to the shoe shine man? (I say man because, although I am sure there were some, I never saw a woman doing this.) You used to seem them on street corners in larger cities or stationed in the airports, and they always seemed busy.

When I traveled as a younger man, I chose to do so in comfortable clothes. But one time I was flying while wearing a suit, and my dress shoes were a bit scuffed. I decided to try out the shoe shine guy. He buffed and polished and shined those shoes in ways I could never do. They looked brand new. This guy was a professional, and, in that moment, he made me understand why so many people chose to have their shoes shined.

Today, not so much. Good luck finding a shoe shine man in an airport or anywhere. What changed? More restrictions in setting up in public locations? People dressing more casually? Nobody willing to take on the craft?

For many men of prior generations, the answer is also tied to habit. They served in the military and learned to shine their boots every day, whether they wanted to or not. That respectful habit can stick with a person.

In the 1990s, I worked at The Des Moines Register, and I called on Betts Cadillac for advertising. They had a great group of salespeople who always dressed sharp and had shiny shoes. One day, I noticed a salesman sliding his feet under an electric shoe shine machine. He encouraged me to try it out, so I did. The end result was amazing. I was so impressed that I bought one of those machines, and I still have it today. My kids used to be amazed by it, too, but they were not comfortable putting their feet under the rotating pads. I gladly shined their shoes for them.

For a short time, I worked for the Des Moines Business Record. My boss was Lon Matejczyk, and he shared my fetish for shiny shoes. I complimented his shoes one day and told him about my shoe shine machine. He opened his drawer and showed me the shine sponges he had. Those became a stocking stuffer gift for me from my wife every year since.

My aunt never married and spent much of her life as a housecleaner for a priest. When that priest died, he left much of his belongings to her, and some of that stuff she passed along to me — like a hinged, wooden shoe shine kit, full of polish and brushes and laces. I still have it and dig it out from the back of my closet and use it from time to time. But, much like the shoe shine man in the airport, it is getting tougher and tougher to find.

Have a thoughtful Thursday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

View Shane Goodman's archived columns from past issues here.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
Join the more than 7,000 who have already cast their votes in the latest CITYVIEW'S Best Of Des Moines readers' poll — the metro's original and largest poll of its kind.
Winners are announced in the February issue of CITYVIEW!
Vote Now

Your Clear Mortgage forecast

A cold front brings chillier air and breezy conditions Thursday into Saturday before a warm up into next week.

For help with preapprovals or refinancing, get in touch with Carrie at carrie.mortgage.

Featured home for sale
Attention Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.
1528 17th St.
West Des Moines, IA 50265
Turn key mid-century ranch ready for the next buyer. This home has been redone throughout and offers tons of living space up and down. The garage was converted years ago into a huge living space equipped with a fireplace just in time for the winter months.
See More Homes For Sale

In the early 1900s, wild turkeys were on the brink of extinction, with only about 200,000 left in the Unites States. Through conservation efforts over the past century, with funds derived from the Pittman-Robertson Act, and thanks to sportsmen and women, there are approximately 6.5 million wild birds in the United States today, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation. This hen hangs out at Walnut Woods State Park. Photo/Paul Houston.


Mainframe Studios – First Friday, Oct. 6
Headlining the plethora of open studios, music, food and more is Momentum’s "Works of Growth and Recovery," an annual art competition and exhibition of winners featuring central Iowa artists who are living with a mental health condition or disability. This exhibition will be held at Mainframe Studios from 5-8 p.m. There will be a virtual exhibition of winners open during the month of October.

Anderson Galleries, Drake University
Composer Nathan Felix will present the premiere of “The Cadence of Life" (an immersive opera experience), inspired by the art of Judy Pfaff, Thursday, Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. at the Anderson Galleries, 1310 25th St., Des Moines. Example of Immersive Opera. Click here for tickets.

Audition – Ankeny Community Theatre. "A Gift for Rebecca." General Auditions (both youth and adults): Saturday, Oct. 7, 2 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. Youth Auditions: Saturday, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. In December, the theatre will premiere a new work by local playwright and longtime ACT volunteer, John Claes.

— John Busbee, The Culture Buzz


Chinese street food company Wow Bao has partnered with Walmart so expect to see it in the latter's aisles soon.

Shark's fin soup is legal in Iowa but no one has offered it since the closing of China Wall in Cobblestone a decade ago. Because it's illegal in California, New York, Nevada, Hawaii, and Illinois, not many fins are imported to the U.S.

Barnes & Nobel has been selling Phaidon's "The China Cookbook" for just $15, both online and at 4550 University, West Des Moines. This is probably the best, certainly the most comprehensive, English language book on the subject of Chinese cuisine.

Dumpling House (1129 24th St., Des Moines) is open Sundays only, at 5:30 p.m.

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: Iowa woman charged with vehicular homicide in deadly motorcycle crash; victim identified

MARION, Iowa (KCRG) — The Linn County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man who was killed in a crash Tuesday, KCRG reports. Chad Craig, of Cedar Rapids, was driving a motorcycle when he was hit head-on by a vehicle attempting to pass in a no-passing zone, the sheriff's office said in a news release Wednesday. ... READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Des Moines International Airport breaking ground on $455 million terminal

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines International Airport will break ground on its new terminal Wednesday. The project is expected to cost $455 million. The new terminal will expand the number of planes and passengers that the airport can serve and will be two stories tall. ... READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: When does central Iowa usually see the first frost of fall?

DES MOINES, Iowa — October is here, and Mother Nature is finally starting to get the memo! Although the month started with temperatures well above average, the warmth won't last long. ...READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Weekly Fuel Report

DES MOINES, Iowa (Oct. 4, 2023) – The price of regular unleaded gasoline fell 15 cents, averaging $3.52 across Iowa according to AAA. Prices fell 15 cents from last week’s price and are up 13 cents from a year ago. The national average on Wednesday was $3.79, down 4 cents from last week’s price.

Retail diesel prices in Iowa fell 1 cent this week with a statewide average of $4.30. One year ago, diesel prices averaged $4.65 in Iowa. The current Iowa diesel price is 26 cents less than the national average of $4.56.

Wholesale ethanol held steady and is currently priced at $2.16.

Propane prices were up 3 cents with a statewide average of $1.53 per gallon.

Home heating oil prices rose 2 cents, with a statewide average of $3.88 per gallon.

Natural gas prices rose 9 cents at the Henry Hub reporting site and are currently priced at $3.02/MMbtu

Tips for saving energy on the road or at home are available at energy.gov and fueleconomy.gov.

Birthdays and notables!

These celebrities were born on this date:  Kate Winslet, Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Miller, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Guy Pearce, Bob Geldof, Brian Johnson, Jacob Tremblay, Daniel Baldwin, Heather Headley, Barry Switzer, Bill James, Colin Meloy, David Bryson

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:
What do you call a group of alligators that get together to sing parody songs? Pun-croc-ers! - Gail Tomlinson. Or Cold-blooded impersongators [impersonators]! - Carolyn Rogers. Or, The Weird Alligator Chorus! -William Snyder.

Today's riddle

What do you call a sad coffee?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in this daily newsletter, contact Jolene Goodman at jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com, or call 515-953-4822 ext. 319.

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