Willie. Well now, don’t get all bothered. It’s been a long hard winter here in New Hampshire and then we had to plant the garden to keep Ida happy. I’m back now…where were we?
FN: You were about to tell me about Ernest.
Willie. Well, this here fella Ernest come in looking for a job on a Friday about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Now the reason I remember it was on a Friday at 3 o’clock is that’s the day I have some of Ida’s homemade blueberry muffins on my 3 o’clock break and that particular year, 1953, was the best blueberry season ever…before or since. Well anyway Ernest com in looking for some part time work. Now everyone here-about knew Ernest wasn’t wrapped too tight, but with his mother’s birthday comin’ up he needed some spendin’ money. Our regular cleanin’ man was on vacation and I needed somebody to mop them floors. So I hired him. Now, at that time we was in a four story building right in the middle of town. I kinda figured that it would take Ernest about four days to complete the job, a day for each floor, so I told him to come in on the followin’ Tuesday. Well, Friday come around and I gotta tell ya I wasn’t too pleased. I just knew I was going to have a talk with him. I had to go easy so I said “Ernest, your work is fine. Those floors never shined so bright but I want to know why on Tuesday you did the whole first floor and on Wednesday you did 3/4 of the second floor then on Thursday you shine dup 1/2 of the third floor and on Friday you only got one little patch of the fourth done. What seems to be the problem? Don’ you like the job?” “Well, Mr. O’Hearn” he says, ” I like the job just fine, but you oughta know that with me being on the 4th floor and that bucket on the 1st. floor, things are bound to slow down a little.”
Ayuh, I can still taste those blueberry muffins.
FN: I understand that in the past few years you’ve built not one, but two new plants?
FN: Now I ant to get this right…one in Berlin, New Hampshire and one here in Ashland, New Hampshire.
FN: With this kind of commitment to new plants and equipment would it be safe to say that you have doubled or even tripled your capacity?
FN: You must be shipping super fast all the time now?
Willie. Nope. Sometimes just fast.
FN: Walking through your plant I noticed that you don’t apply any finish to your cedar shoe trees.
Willie. Ayuh. We don’t.
FN: Is that because a finish would block the cedar smell?
FN: With the economy the way it is and with the concerns of management for profit margins and have to think it is a lot cheaper not to apply any finish.
FN: Then why no finish Willie?
Willie. Now Mister, after you’ve been walking around all day on them hot city streets of yours lookin’ for interviews to do haven’t you ever noticed that when you take off your shoes at night that they’re a mite on the soggy side?
FN: Sure I have Willie. But what does that have to do with the finish or lack of finish?
Willie. Let me ask you a question, Mister. Where do you think all that moisture goes? Well I’ll tell ya…it goes right into the leather of them three under dollar GQ type shoes you’re wearin’.
FN: I guess you’re right.
Willie. There ain’t no guessin’ about it. I know I”m right. You just slip a pair of them unfinished cedar trees overnight and see what happens.
FN: I will do that Willie, but could you explain to our readers exactly what takes place?
Willie. Now you gotta realize that even if you stay up all night you can’t see it happenin’, but the moisture released into the air causin’ no harm to the shoe or the environment.
FN: How do you know it really works that way?
Willie. It’s a lot like watchin’ paint dry. You can’t see it but most everyone still knows that paint does dry.
FN: How many styles and sizes do you have in the line?
Willie: All of them.
FN: What does that mean Willie?
Willie: It means more than 112! You fellas don’t have much of a sense of humor do you?
FN: I see on this package that your cedar shoe trees are guaranteed for life. Could you clarify this for us Willie?
Willie: Seems to me that’s as clear as ice hangin’ from a pulp cutters’ beard. Could be 10 years, could be 110 years, dependin’ on how long you intend to live.