“Boots,” Friend, Dec. 1984, 14


When Leah woke up that morning, she looked out the window. She smiled because everything was covered with snow. She dressed for school quickly and rushed down to the warm kitchen. “Mom,” she said happily, “did you look outside?”

Her mother smiled and nodded. “Yes, I did, honey. Isn’t the snow pretty?”

“When I get home from school, can I play in it?” Leah asked hopefully.

“Yes, you may. But you’d better hurry and eat your pancakes now, or you’ll be late for school.”

“Mom!” Tim called from the basement. “Where are our winter boots?”

“Under the stairs,” Mother called back. “In the tall cabinet.”

Leah’s older sister, Carol, wrapped a scarf around her neck. “I found my boots. See you later, Mom,” she said as she gave Mother a kiss. Then she patted Leah’s head and added, “Have a good day, Pumpkin.”

Soon Tim left for school too.

“I wish I could stay home and play in the snow,” Leah said.

“That would be nice,” Mother agreed, “but today is a school day.”

Leah nodded and popped the last piece of pancake into her mouth. “That was good! Thank you.”

Mother smiled. “Thank you, honey, for enjoying it. Now hurry and get ready.”

Leah went to the closet and took out her coat and hat. She wrapped a scarf around her neck and pushed her arms into the sleeves of her coat. Then she went downstairs to the tall cabinet beneath the stairs. She opened the door and looked for her boots. There they were, white and clean, waiting to tramp in the snow. Leah liked them a lot. She sat down and pointed the toe of her shoe into the opening of one of the boots. But no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get her boot over her shoe.

“Mom,” she finally called up the stairs, “I can’t get my boots on.”

Mother went down the stairs. “Oh, dear,” she said. “Don’t tell me they no longer fit.” Mother knelt in front of Leah and put a boot beside Leah’s shoe. “They look like they might barely fit.” Mother tugged and pushed, but the boots would not go over Leah’s shoes. “Well,” Mother said as she looked in the cupboard. “Let me see … Yes, here’s a pair of Carol’s old boots. Let’s see if they fit.”

Leah tried on one of the boots, and it slipped on without any trouble. “They fit, with room left over.” Leah giggled.

Mother laughed too. “Not too much room, though. I’m glad you can get into them. They’ll keep your shoes nice and dry.”

All the way to school Leah watched the tracks the boots made. The bottoms made squiggily lines like snow tires. Leah was glad that her sister’s boots fit her.

When recess came, Miss Higgins asked, “How many of you would like to go outside and play in the snow?”

Everyone raised his hand and cheered.

“All right,” Miss Higgins said with a smile. “Bundle up and out we go.”

Leah pulled on her boots easily, and soon she was outside playing. Then Leah saw Melanie standing alone near the school building where the snow barely covered the ground. She wasn’t playing with the others because she wasn’t wearing boots.

When recess was over, everyone lined up at the door, waiting to go back inside. “Quietly now, class,” Miss Higgins said. “Shake the snow from your boots and walk quietly past the other classrooms.”

Leah looked at Melanie’s shoes. They looked like they were sopping wet, and Leah knew that Melanie’s socks were wet too. Leah looked at the footprint Melanie’s shoes made in the snow, then made a boot print beside it. Melanie’s shoe print was quite a bit smaller than the print from Carol’s old boot! Leah smiled to herself as she followed the line into the school.

After school Leah looked for Melanie.

“Melanie?” she called. “Do you want to walk in my boot tracks as far as my house?”

Melanie shivered and smiled. “Thanks, Leah,” she said happily.

“Don’t you have any boots?” Leah asked over her shoulder.

“My parents will probably get me some when they can.”

Leah nodded. “I have some white boots at home … I can’t wear them anymore. I think they’d fit you!”

Melanie hesitated. “Maybe your mother wouldn’t like me taking your boots.”

“She wouldn’t care,” Leah told her classmate. “I’m the youngest in the family, so I know she wouldn’t mind.”

Melanie smiled and shivered again. “Well, if she says that I can have them, that’d be great!” Melanie said, hurrying on as Leah turned up the walk to her house.

“Mom,” Leah called, “I’m home!”

Mother turned from the sewing machine and gave Leah a welcome-home hug. “How was school, honey?”

“We played in the snow at recess time and pasted pictures in our books this afternoon. It was fun.”

“That’s good,” Mother said.

“Mom,” Leah said quietly. “Melanie Harper doesn’t have any boots. Can I give her my old white ones? I think they’ll fit her.”

Leah’s mother looked at her for a long minute, then gave her a second hug. “Honey, it’s more than OK. It’s a very caring thing to do, and I’m proud of you. I know how much you liked your white boots.”

“Melanie will like them too. Do you think Heavenly Father would be happy if I give them to her?”

“Honey,” her mother replied, “Heavenly Father is always pleased when we help each other.”

Illustrated by Shauna Mooney