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BLUE RAIN BOOTS

My granddaughter held out her hand,
"Look, Grandma, what is this?"
She waved an object back and forth,
As if for emphasis.

Her sheepish grin revealed to me,
She had been somewhere forbidden,
Like into boxes on a shelf,
That I thought were well hidden.

Swinging there upon a cord,
A small canvas bag of blue,
I caught the bag with my two hands,
And instantly I knew.

"Honey, where'd you find this?"
Shrugged shoulders, her reply,
"I thought that this was long since gone,"
A tear sneaked from my eye.

"Don't cry, Grandma, I'll put it back,
I'm sorry I was bad."
"No, sweetheart, it's all right,
Just for a moment, I felt sad."

Then I took her up unto my lap,
And we opened up the bag,
Inside, two rubber shoe-like soles,
Surrounded by blue strips of rags.

"Ugh, Grandma, who wants that?"
She jumped down and left the room,
I held blue remnants in my hands,
That time and age had near consumed.

My grandchild, much too young to share,
The history of those scraps,
Something now for me alone,
Or, my God and me, perhaps.

Now, let's see - what would it be,
Thirty - forty - fifty years?
Could it really be that long?
My eyes swelled up again with tears.

I think I was not twenty yet,
I know I was in college,
I was self-supporting, too,
And I had this thirst for knowledge.

Money was not plentiful,
I barely covered food and rent,
I bought no clothes; I had no treats,
I knew I dared not waste a cent.

My mother, too, was working hard,
And she had bills to meet,
She wanted so to help me out,
But, poor soul, she also had to eat.

We commiserated with each other,
Knowing one day things would change,
Ever struggling for the future,
We shared our joys and our pains.

This day - a vicious rainstorm,
Water rose high over curbs,
The worst storm of the season,
Was one report I later heard.

Mom and I had planned this outing,
Not too concerned about the storm,
We met at a local tearoom,
Which was cozy, dry and warm.

Right off, Mom saw how wet I was,
I was soaked through to the skin,
"Honey, where's your rain boots?"
"What a state," she said, "You're in."

"Well, Mom, I don't have any,
But I think by ... next ... payday..."
The distressed look up on her face,
Blew all my words away.

She bit her lip and said, "Oh, honey,"
Then she took me to a store,
Which sold rain gear at a discount,
Umbrellas, boots, and more.

We picked out a cheap umbrella,
Such guilt I felt that night,
I knew Mom should not spend the money,
Though she kept saying, "It's all right."

Then we chose blue canvas rain boots,
With thick, black rubber soles,
Thick enough to keep me dry,
Even if I stepped in holes.

I remember thinking at the time,
I'm not a child any more,
Yet there she was, still caring,
Just as she had done before.

She said, "It's just a little thing,"
Major sacrifice, thought I,
I saw an act of love that night,
That I'd remember 'til I die.

My appreciation then was great,
But now, I think, it's greater,
Funny how years fleeting by,
Increase one's values later.

I sat back then and thought about,
My mom and when she died,
I thought now I am old enough,
To take that very ride.

"Yes, Mom, soon I'll be joining you,
I've changed since you were here,
But when I arrive, you'll know me,
I'll be wearing blue rain gear.

"I know we have been promised,
Robes of gold and pure white,
But if I wear my old blue rain boots,
Mama, would it be all right?"

Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
copyright 1999 ~ revised 2004



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Midi:
ęDavid Folsom and used with his permission. You may visit his
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