Saturday, January 29, 2022
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‘Please hand me my purse’

| January 9, 2022 1:00 AM

As always, my Mom was patient as I unwound the purse straps from the back of her wheelchair and placed it in her lap. Her hands palsied as she struggled with the purse zipper.

“Want some help?”

She nodded and I unzipped the purse.

With difficulty, her hands located her billfold and held it out to me.

“Please take out the $20.”

I found the only $20 she had among the one dollar bills in her worn billfold. And started to hand it to her.

“My hands won’t work,” she explained as she motioned to the red kettle and the tiny slot the donations had to pass through.

“Mom, are you sure about the $20? You have some dollar bills here.”

She motioned for me to lean over, and in her firm steady voice she whispered,”My mother, your grandmother was born in the Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers on Trent in Spokane. She was 17 and no husband, no family.”

She took a breath. “They took her in.”

I folded the $20 in thirds and put it in the slot. The lady with the Santa hat rang the little bell.

STEVE JOHNSON

Sandpoint

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