Reuben respectfully touched his worn cap and walked out into the sunlight with the bay rippling in a freshening wind. There was purpose in his loping stride5. 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 Hessian sacks from a local factory. Sometimes the sacks were discarded in the flurry of building, and Reuben knew he could sell them back to the factory for five cents a piece.
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 five-cent pieces as he ran the two kilometers home.
Near his house stood the ancient barn that housed the family's goats and chickens. Reuben found a rusty soda tin and dropped his coins inside. Then he climbed into the loft of the barn and hid the tin beneath a pile of sweet smelling hay.
It was dinnertime when Reuben got home. His father sat at the big kitchen table, working on a fishing net. Dora was at the kitchen stove, 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 blonde hair. Slim and beautiful, she was the center of the home, the glue that held it together.