Wandering alone in some sketchy parts of downtown Spokane, I happened upon a storefront that looked abandoned. Through the grand floor-to-ceiling windows I spied display units with treasures left behind, shelves half-filled with half-constructed boots, a rotary phone, papers with curled edges pinned to a bulletin board and a scratched hot water heater in the entryway. A layer of dust muted the colors of all that remained. It was the epitome of hipster cool minus the self-conscious construction and Instagram'ed coffee.
As if the vibe wasn't enough to beckon me inside, there was a sign flipped to "Yes We Are OPEN" in the window. While I reasoned, "can't be open," I felt my hand on the knob. It opened. I sort of felt like Nancy Drew as I walked inside and marveled at the mess and relics.
The machinery, stained work benches, hand tools, smell of oil, and the all-man-environment seemed vaguely familiar. I was reminded of jamming a brake pedal, with short kid-legs extended, while my dad bled the brakes in one vehicle or another in his garage. Finally he would emerge with an old hanky-as-rag, wiping his blackened hands and letting me know I was done helping.
Just then - I kid you not - an older guy with dark, weathered skin and a cowboy hat sauntered to the front. I must have taken a cue that there was nothing to fear from his white cowboy hat. The man had kind eyes, long fingernails, wore a turquise button-down and had a rosary tattoo on his right forearm. At that moment, I was in story heaven!
Stay tuned for more on boots & trespassing at Cruz Custom Boots, Spokane