When my brother was a little boy, he loved to present my mom with gaudy jewelry, the brighter, shinier and more colourful, the better. He would scrounge together the necessary nickel to plunk down for another treat at one of the junk stores that sprung up periodically in Dawson Creek.
Sometimes to earn the five cents he would, along with my other not-so-generous brothers, canvas the town for bottles (then worth a penny each or 10 cents for a dozen if you sold them to a cheapskate) to get the needed coins.
No holiday made Norm happier than Motherís Day. He would eagerly anticipate the holiday with the fervour most kids reserve for Christmas. And when at last he had the right amount of cash, off he would trudge to get Mom her next treasure.
One year it was magnificent mauve baubles about twice the size of her ear lobe ó clip-ons, of course. The thought of piercing her ears made Mom physically sick. She couldnít even stand to see anyone put an earring in her ear (in Momís world, not many males did so) without retching. Anyway, nothing could top Normís earrings in her opinion.
As an aside, the two of them shared a birthday. Maybe thatís what accounted for the same rarefied taste in jewels, as Norm dubbed them.
Of course, my mean brothers would tease him unmercifully about what they termed his sucking up. This didnít seem to make much difference to Norm. He was more concerned about what Mom thought of his presents than what Terry and Bill thought of his character. And while my sisters and I silently snickered at the latest largesse to appear on Momís ears, for the most part we were smart enough to keep our opinions to ourselves. For invariably the two boys ended up ďgetting tuned upĒ for razzing poor Norm. In those politically-incorrect days, that generally meant dancing around a willow switch that they had been foolish enough to provide for their punishment. And while they might still whine when we get together now that Norm was always Momís favourite because he didnít often end up in trouble, truth is, they brought a lot of it on themselves.
With Motherís Day just a breath away, it brought back memories of those bygone times. Now I suspect there arenít many kids ó boys or girls ó who spend days looking in ditches for bottles to trade for cash to buy their female parent a one-of-a-kind gem. We donít put as much worth in such efforts as perhaps we ought to.
All I know is that when my Mom died eight years ago and I was going through the trunk where she kept her most prized possessions ó right on top were those monster-sized mauve earrings. And I would give anything to see her here wearing them again.
Happy Motherís Day.