Aunt Barb’s Boots- Her love, caring and concern for others lives on

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured

Published on February 27, 2019 with No Comments

By Elizabeth J. Anderson

What do you do with an old pair of boots that have sentimental value but are too big for your feet?  Holly knew just what to do, but it took a little time before the epiphany revealed itself.

Growing up, Aunt Barb was Holly’s favorite aunt and she loved spending time with her as a young girl.  Aunt Barb and Uncle Dale lived in Minnesota and spent many years enjoying the great outdoors.  The Minnesota winters didn’t quell their thirst for outdoor activities and they spent them wisely, even doing some dog sledding.

Minnesota winters require warm coats, hats, gloves, and a good pair of boots.   Aunt Barb sported Mukluks, which were tall, soft boots that kept her feet nice and warm during their winter outings.

But Aunt Barb did more than just enjoy the great outdoors.  She spent many years of her life taking care of others, and in her final years of good health she tended to the needs of those living out their golden years in nursing homes, making certain they were comfortable and their needs were met.

In her later years Aunt Barb acquired a disease known as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  Knowing she would no longer be able to enjoy the warmth of her Mukluks, she gave the boots to Holly.

Holly accepted Aunt Barb’s gift of the Mukluks and was thrilled to have them.  Although Holly’s small feet couldn’t physically enjoy their warmth, she kept the boots as a sentimental token of her love and admiration for Aunt Barb. Sadly, Aunt Barb ultimately lost her battle with ALS.

During the recent week of extreme cold, Holly decided the boots needed a home where they could be worn by someone who could actually fit into them.  She decided to sell them on Facebook, and would donate the proceeds to ALS in memory of her dear Aunt Barb.  Within a day of posting the Mukluks, Holly received several full price offers.  She was thrilled at the prospect of making the biggest donation possible to ALS.

While reviewing the offers to purchase the Mukluks, Holly came across a post from a young woman who had recently been ill and was homeless.  The young woman offered $10 for the boots, stating it was all she could afford. Rather than accepting $10 for the boots, Holly told the young woman she could have them, knowing they would go to a pair of feet that desperately needed warming.  Holly recalled the many years her dear Aunt Barb had spent helping others and giving selflessly whenever and wherever she could.  It struck a chord, and the epiphany revealed itself. Holly found herself clearing her closet of many items she no longer needed.  She bagged up wool sweaters, blankets and the Mukluks and took them to the young woman.  She graciously accepted them and, after giving Holly a tight hug, spoke of her intentions to share the donated items to other homeless women in need.

As Holly walked away, she thought about Aunt Barb. She realized that even though Aunt Barb had passed, she was still taking care of others.  Holly thought it amazing that she found someone in need of warmth just at a time she had something warm to give that meant so much to her.  Aunt Barb’s boots are doing exactly what Aunt Barb would want them to do.  Her love, caring and concern for others lives on through Aunt Barb’s boots.

For more information on ALS, visit the ALS Association website at www.alsa.org.

To give to the homeless in your area, visit www.homelessshelterdirectory.org.


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