A fabulous craftsman, proud of his work, always fine-tuning his wares; Mr. Thomas makes custom leather shoes. He and my grandfather share the same homeland. Both left home to make lives in other locations; Grandpa came to the United States and Mr. Thomas moved to Barbados.
Immigrants often get a bad rap in the countries they move to. But usually they’re the hardest working people of all. As a nation built by immigrants — some forced, most voluntary — we seemed to have forgotten this. In many cases where immigrants don’t speak the native language no matter what their previous professions — lawyer or doctor — they become laborers or work restaurant and retail jobs in their new homeland. Jobs that require a lot of long hours and physical strength.
Mr. Thomas and I shared another interesting connection. My Bajan great-grandfather’s family profession was making shoes. No one in my family does this kind of work anymore, but it’s as if, he has filled the gap left by them.
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