Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow.> > Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't> own> > any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did> > a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard> for> > about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up> > with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift. He shook his head as> he > > thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I > don't have> >> > any money to spend."> >> > Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of>> > five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or> try, > > there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the> > hospital, but the wage that she was earning could only be stretched> > so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they> > more than made up for in love and family unity.> >> > Bobby had two older and one younger sister, who ran the household in>> > their mother's absence. All three of his sisters had already made> > beautiful gifts for their mother. Somehow it just wasn't fair.> Here it> > was > > Christmas Eve already, and he had nothing.> >> > Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to> walk> > down to the street where the shops and stores were. It wasn't easy> > being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk> to.> > Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window.> > Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting> to> > get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his> > > eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting off of > > something along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny> > dime. Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that> > moment.> >> > As he held his new found treasure, a warmth spread throughout his> > entire body and he walked into the first store he saw. His> excitement> > quickly turned cold when the salesperson told him that he couldn't> buy> > anything with only a dime. He saw a flower shop and went inside to> > wait in line. When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby>> > presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his> mother's> > Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent> > offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and said to him,>> > "You just wait here and I'll see what I can do for you."> >> > As Bobby waited he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though> he> > was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers. The> > sound of the door closing as the last customer left jolted Bobby> back> > to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and> afraid.> >> > Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There,> > before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stem red roses, with leaves of> > green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver> bow.> >> > Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them> > gently into a long white box. "That will be ten cents, young man,"> > the shop owner said, reaching out his hand for the dime. Slowly,> Bobby> > moved his hand to give the man his dime.> >> > Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime!> >> > Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened>> > to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like> them?> > This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long> box> > into his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the> owner> > was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry> Christmas,> > son."> >> > As he returned inside, the shop owner's wife walked out. "Who were > > you talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?"> >> > Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he>> > replied, "A strange thing happened to me this morning. While I was> > setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice> telling me> > to set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn't> sure> > at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside>> > anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the> shop> > and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime.> >> > "When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago. I, too, was a> > poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded> > man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that> > he wanted to give me ten dollars.> >> > "When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and> I> > put together a dozen of my very best roses."> >> > The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they> > stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't feel cold> > at all.> >