“Mom, do I have to wear my boots today?”

When I used to ask Mom that question 50 years ago, she knew what a big pain it was to put them on. They really were galoshes, and if they were the least bit tight, we had to sit down on the floor and pull them on with all our might.

Then when we got to school we had to sit down to tug them off,  throw them in the pile and hunt them up to go out for recess. It was a waste of time and energy, to our way of thinking. Now boots are comfortable, stylish and wearable all day long,

Anyone who’s lived through a Maine winter, with its freezing rain, ice and copious amounts of snow, realizes that boots are a dire need.

This winter I’ve had the privilege of helping an immigrant family find boots for their six kids. Despite grants and donations from schools, churches, the Salvation Army and other community initiatives, boots are as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Everyone needs boots and everyone has different sizes of feet.  Last month we measured the children’s feet for correct sizes, but lo and behold, this month the sizes had changed.  Like puppy paws, kids’ feet  keep growing.

After weeks of many community efforts and at least two major snowstorms, we located several pairs of boots that appeared to be the right sizes, but when the youngsters started trying them on, difficulties arose. One pair was missing its laces, another pair had holes in the linings, the newer pairs were either too big or too small. Just as we were about to give up, some very generous members of a local initiative that welcomes immigrants came through with brand-new boots.

Bright eyes and big smiles appeared all around as they tried on their new warm, comfortable boots, which fit perfectly.

Not one of those happy children would be asking their mom if they had to wear boots today.