After lunch on Saturday, Sara asked, “What should I do now?”
“What would you like to do?” Father was at the desk, opening his stamp album.
“I don’t know,” Sara replied. “Everyone else has a hobby to work on.”
“You could start a recipe collection.” Mother liked to cook new things. She was scanning the newspaper for recipes to clip.
“Quilting is a nice hobby.” Grandmother was cutting small squares from scraps of material for quilt blocks.
“Go leaf hunting.” Sara’s sister, Grace, held a leaf in one hand and a book about trees in the other.
“Rocks are more interesting than trees,” Sara’s brother, Glen, argued. He was sorting small stones in old egg cartons.
Sara didn’t know what to say. Dad’s stamps were colorful. Mother’s meals were delicious. Grandmother’s quilts were beautiful. Grace’s leaf collection was pretty, and Glen’s rocks were interesting. But Sara didn’t want to do what anyone else was doing. She wanted a hobby of her own.
“Thank you for the ideas,” Sara said sadly. She sat on the sofa and looked out the window. Jake was in the backyard burying a bone. Even he had something to collect! Sara sighed. She thought about how her family had tried to help. Suddenly she had an idea. “I know what I’ll collect!”
“What?” Father asked.
Sara smiled. “It’s a surprise,” she said. “I’ll show you next Saturday.”
There was a field trip at school on Monday. Sara’s class visited a limestone quarry and watched the big machines load rocks from it onto trucks. Sara picked up one of the small stones scattered on the ground and put it into her pocket. When she got home, she put the stone into an empty shoe box.
After school on Tuesday, Mother told Sara “A letter came for you.” She handed Sara an envelope.
“I’ve been hoping for this!” Sara tore open the envelope. Inside was a letter from her Swedish pen pal. Sara read the letter three times.
Then Sara looked at the envelope again. With a pair of scissors she carefully cut off the corner of the envelope that held the stamp. She had seen Father do this many times. My collection is growing, she thought as she dropped the stamp into the shoe box.
After dinner Wednesday night, Sara came downstairs carrying a worn-out dress. “May I have this for my collection, Mother?”
“Yes,” Mother replied, looking at Sara curiously.
Sara spent the rest of the evening cutting the dress into small squares. By bedtime she had a large stack of squares to put into the shoe box.
Thursday, during recess, Sara looked closely at all the trees in the school yard. Some of the leaves were golden. One tree had leaves shaped like mittens. Sara pulled a leaf from that tree and put it between two pieces of paper and slipped it into her math book. Later she laid it gently in the shoe box.
Mother shopped for groceries every Friday night. Glen, Grace, and Sara took turns going with her to help. Sara was glad that it was her turn. Before leaving for the store, she took some coins from her piggy bank.
At the meat counter, Sara found a beef bone wrapped in plastic. She put the bone into their cart and handed Mother the coins. “I would like to buy this for my collection.”
“Are you sure?”
Sara just smiled and nodded.
On Saturday Sara had lunch with her friend Hana Clark. Mrs. Clark made a pie, but it was not a dessert pie. It was filled with cheese and tomatoes. It was the main course.
“This pie is unusual, but it is very good,” Sara said. “May I have the recipe?”
“Of course,” answered Mrs. Clark.
After lunch, Hana read the recipe to Sara, who printed it on a piece of paper. When she got home, she put the recipe into the shoe box.
Saturday evening Sara took the bone from the refrigerator and put it into the shoe box.
“Are you going to show us your collection?” Glen asked when Sara brought her shoe box to the dinner table.
Sara nodded. She set the shoe box on the table and took off the lid. Father, Mother, Grandmother, Grace, and Glen peered inside. They all looked puzzled.
“What a strange collection,” Glen said.
“It is different,” Grace agreed.
“Sara, what is your hobby?” Father asked.
Sara didn’t say anything. She just handed the recipe to Mother, the stamp to Father, the fabric squares to Grandmother, the leaf to Grace, and the stone to Glen. “The bone is for Jake,” she explained. She unwrapped it and set it outside the back door.
When she came back to the table, she saw smiles on everyone’s face. “I’m collecting smiles,” she said. “Now I have five smiles for my collection. If you count Jake’s wagging his tail, I have six.”
“Yours is the best hobby of all,” Grandmother said. Then she kissed Sara on the nose.