As the situation worsened, a medical diagnosis took Boothe by complete surprise. Her husband, who had been battling Parkinson’s Disease, was in the grips of dementia.
At the time of the diagnosis, Boothe, owner of Evan Flower Shop in downtown Anniston, believed she could manage the situation. She went to work each day, in the safety of home.
“One day he called a cab to take him to a local medical office,” Boothe said. “No one knew him there so they asked him to leave.” By then, Boothe was driving up and down area streets, frantically searching for her husband. She found him on Leighton Avenue, sitting under a tree.
Boothe knew she needed daytime sitters, but in-home care was out of her budget. Then she learned of Family & Friends, an adult daycare center in Oxford, where she could take her husband every morning.
“They’re my true angels,” she said. “They take such good care of him.”
Boothe certainly needs that peace of mind since she is now the sole breadwinner for her household.
“Locally owned flower shops are a dying breed,” she said. “But I’m determined to make it work.”
Between financial tight spots and the failing health of her spouse, Boothe could easily complain or shake her fist at the world, but that’s not her style.
“Everybody has problems,” she said. “These are just mine,” she says pointing out, “I have a home and a family. I’m blessed.”
Among her blessings, Boothe counts a group of friends who come out in force every year to give her a hand on Valentine’s Day, the most lucrative day of the year for any florist.
And despite a week of snowy weather, this year was no exception. On the morning of Feb. 14, Boothe’s friends arrived early at the flower shop to man the phones, wait on customers and use their own vehicles to deliver more than 100 arrangements to homes and businesses throughout the county.
“We all want to help Yvonne because she has such a giving spirit,” said Janet Reese, who has assisted Boothe on Valentine’s Day for 10 years. “She’s always so cheerful and upbeat.”
Scott Skinner agrees. “Yvonne is just like a mother to me,” he said. “I can always count on her.”
By the end of the day, the exhausted delivery crew returned to the shop and gathered in the break room where they enjoyed gourmet sandwiches sent over from Boothe’s downtown neighbor, David Mashburn, while sharing touching and funny stories about the day.
“People need to laugh. My father always says to me, ‘Keep the faith’ — and I do,” she said. “I know God is with me everywhere I go and that always makes me smile.”
SAVE THE DATE
The Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association needs volunteers to help clean up the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail before the arrival of visiting mountain bikers. Those who come out to help on Saturday, March 1, will be rewarded with a cookout, raffle tickets and fun giveaways. Bring gloves, safety glasses — and a friend. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.