Focused on Mississippi: Shoe Shines by Samuel Wilson

Focused on Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Samuel Wilson shined shoes downtown Jackson for years. When businesses began to leave downtown, so did he.

Wilson knows a lot of the movers and shakers of the city. He could probably tell you some stuff, but what I found interesting are the parallels in shining a pair of shoes and living life.

“I remember one man, he came in and he, I was doing the sole of his shoe, and I was cleaning it up and he looked at it and he said, ‘What is that you are putting around the soul of my shoe?’ And I said, ‘That’s some sole dressing.’ And he looked at me and he say, ‘Is that something y’all invented?’”

I fell under conviction when Wilson started talking about taking shortcuts with shoe shines. The look may be the same, but the end result can be a disaster.

“A lot of people can’t do leather. So, since they can’t do leather, they make quick shine. So that means now you look at the shoe, and it looks like patent leather, but it wasn’t actually put in from the way that I do it. Mine is like that sign you see up there in little bitty writing, ‘Hand Polished and Hand Buffed.’”

Here’s one more parable that aligns with a pair of shoes.

“Let’s just say if it rained and there was a little puddle, and if you hadn’t shined your shoes, you wouldn’t care whether you stepped in that puddle or not. But if you actually just shined your shoes or got some new shoes, you would go around that puddle. So it would give you a different way of walking. You feel different when you’ve got your shoes shined.”

So, keep your soles polished and you’ll stay out of the mud. Keep your soul shined and you will, too.

Wilson has his stand set up at Great Scott on Old Canton Road across from Highland Village. 

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