Friday, December 3, 2021

Been There Voices: Susan Larson - Singing while the glue dries

Singing Cobbler

A few days ago, my dog, Paco, chewed through yet another expensive new leash. I sighed and looked at all of the unusable leashes draped over the railing. Then I realized that I could take it to the little shoe repairman whose shop was nearby. Of course, here in my little village of 11,000, everything is close at hand.

When I got to Humberto’s dark, dusty shop, I found him watching something on his phone, with shoes,  belts, and all sorts of leather things stacked up, filling the tiny shop. But the back walls were covered in posters advertising the events where he had performed. Some posters showed a very youthful and handsome man, while others were of a proud older gentleman.

Using my broken Spanish, I explained my dog had chewed through yet another leash and could he sew it up? Smiling at me, he answered in English that he could, and I could just wait. His first step was to apply industrial strength glue, and while we waited for the glue to dry, I asked him if he sang? Putting the leash in the sun to dry, he picked up his guitar and serenaded me, looking into my eyes the entire song.

The glue had dried by then, and he patiently started stitching the leash over and over again, sharing with me the great difficulties local musicians had during the pandemic when everything was shut down. People weren’t getting shoes repaired, and there was no music in his life or money in his pocket. Of course, I bought a CD too.

Reflecting on this later, I realized how different life is outside of the hustle in the USA. Every activity is monitored by computers, from doctors to check out people, Woe be it, to those who can’t keep up. Yes, I am grateful for my simple life here.

No one is going to serenade me back “home” while the glue dries. 

*** Susan Larson, Ajijic, Jalisco, MX, explorer of the edges

Click here for more about Susan and other Been There Voices  


Been There Voices is about us, our lives, our successes and failures, our joys and sorrows, our lessons and our gradual, hard-won wisdom. We have survived and thrived throughout whatever has come our way.

The reasons are arbitrary and not intended to dismiss half of our population, however, this project focuses on the stories of women, and begins with fourteen women, well-polished grains of sand on the beach of life, tumbled by the waves of time until their light shines through, offering their stories, joys and sorrows, to the ocean of wisdom.


  1. Ah Susan, I too have gone to Humberto for several years here, and he is a genius at inventing ways to repair whatever is broken. i imagine his music means that includes hearts! This is the kind of human-being-artist we each need to become in the world today.

  2. Susa ... thinking of you recently as I started practicing my skipping and laughing at the memory of our daring the malecon. You know, if you ever want to post to Been There Voices, I would love to post it. joyce