In 1945 in Bay Roberts, Canada, a 12-year-old boy saw something in a shop window that set his heart racing. But the price-five dollars was far beyond Reuben Earle's means. Five dollars would buy almost a week's groceries for his family.
        Reuben couldn't ask his father for the money. Everything Mark Earle made fishing, Reuben's mother, Dora, stretched like elastic to feed and clothe their five children.
         Nevertheless, he opened the shop's weathered door and went inside. Standing proud and straight in his flour-sack shirt and washed our trousers, he told the shopkeeper what he wanted, adding,"but I don't have the money now. Can you please hold it for me?
        "I will try," the shopkeeper smiled."Folks around here don't usually have that kind of money to spread on things. It should keep for a while."
        Reuben respectfully touched his worn cap and walked out into the May sunlight. The Bay rippled in a freshening wind that ruffled his short hair. There was purpose in his loping stride. He would raise the five dollars and not tell anybody.
           Hearing the sound of hammering from a side street, Reuben had an idea.
         He ran towards the sound and stopped at a construction site. People built their own homes in Bay Roberts, using nails purchased in burlap sacks from a local factory. Sometimes the sacks were discarded in the flurry of building, and Reuben knew he could sell them to the factory for five cents apiece.
         That day he found two sacks, which he took to the rambling wooden factory and sold to the man in charge of packing nails. The boy's hand tightly clutched the small five-cent pieces as he ran two kilometers home.
         Near his house stood the ancient barn that housed the family's goats and chickens. Reuben found a rusty baking-soda tin and dropped his coins inside. Then he climbed into the loft of the barn and hid the can beneath a pile of sweet-smelling hay.
           It was supper time when Reuben got home. His father sat at the big kitchen table, working on a fishing net. Dora was at the kitchen range, ready to serve dinner as Reuben took his place at the table.
         He looked at his mother and smiled. Sunlight from the window gilded her shoulder-length blond hair. Five foot three, slim and beautiful, she was the center of the home,the glue that held it together.
          Her chores were never-ending. Sewing clothes for her family on the old Singer treadle machine, cooking meals and baking bread, planting a vegetable garden, milking the goats and scrubbing soiled clothes on a washboard. But she was happy. Her family and their well-being were her highest priority.
              Every day after chores and school, Reuben scoured the town, collecting the burlap nail bags. On the day the two-room schoolhouse closed for the summer, no student was more delighted than Reuben. Now he would have more time to devote to his mission.
           All summer long, despite extra chores at home-weeding and watering the garden, cutting wood and fetching water- Reuben kept to his secret task.
         Then all too soon the garden was harvested, the vegetables canned and stored, and the school reopened Soon the leaves fell and his winds blew cold and gusty from the bay. Reuben wandered the streets, diligently searching for his burlap treasures.
          Often he was cold, tired and hungry, but the thought of the object in the store window sustained him. Sometimes his mother would ask:" Reuben, where were you? we were waiting for supper for you."
          "Playing, Mum.Sorry."
           Dora would look at his face and shake her head. Boys.
          Finally spring burst into glorious green and Reuben's spirits erupted. The time had come! He ran into the barn, climbed to the hayloft and uncovered the tin can. With shaking hands, he poured the coins out and began to count.
          Then he counted again He needed 20 cents more. Could there be any sacks left anywhere in town? He had to find four and sell them before the day ended.
            Reuben hid the tin and ran down the streets, searching.
          The shadows were lengthening when Reuben arrived at the factory. The sack buyer was about to lock up.
         "Mister! Please don't close up yet." The man turned and saw Reuben, dirty and sweat stained.
          "Come back tomorrow,boy."
          "Please, Mister. I have to sell the sacks now-please." The man heard a tremor in Reuben's voice and could tell he was close to tears.
           "Why do you need this money so badly?"
           "It's a secret."
        The man took the sacks, reached into his pocket and put four nickels into Reuben's hand. Reuben murmured a quite thank-you and ran home.
            Then,clutching the tin can, he headed for the store.
           "I have the money," he solemnly told the owner, pouring his coins onto the counter.
           The man went to the window and retrieved Reuben's treasure. He wiped the dust off and gently wrapped  it in brown paper. Then he placed the parcel in Reuben's hand.
       Racing home, Reuben burst through the front door, His mother was scrubbing the kitchen range."Here, Mum! Here!" Reuben exclaimed as he ran to her side. He placed a small box in her work-roughened hand.
          She unwrapped it carefully, to save the paper. A blue-velvet jewel box appeared. Dora lifted the lid, tears beginning to blur her vision.
           In gold lettering on a small, almond shaped brooch was the word Mother.
           It was Mother's Day's,1946.
          Dora had never received such a gift; she had no finery except her wedding ring. Speechless, she smiled radiantly and gathered her son into her arms.
          In 1947 Mark Earle moved to Toronto. Dora and children stayed in Bay Roberts until Mark could afford to send for them. Two years later the Earle family was joyously reunited.
          Dora Earle died in 1983 in Toronto, at 75. In her will, she left her most valued possession to her son Reuben. Now in his late 60's, with two sons and five grandchildren, Reuben lives in Ontario, having retired from his career as a real-estate agent two years ago. His wife of 47 years, Lillian ,says, "Reuben has never changed from the loving boy who gave his mother that brooch."
       Reuben's eyes mist at the memory of his mother ."She was the most beautiful person in the world".


                                                                                                                                        Indra Sharma