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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: A Gathering of Friends
By Myrna Noyes


Spring sunshine spread its comfort over me like a cozy throw as I sat relaxing and reading on the porch swing. In the story I was perusing, an enchanting tea party was in full sway, and the depiction of a table laden with tasty comestibles made my mouth water and my stomach rumble. A sudden longing for a tea party of my own possessed me, and the book slipped from my hand as I closed my eyes to better envision the desired affair.

My mind filled with the pressing questions such an event occasioned: What would be on the menu? Would it be an indoor or outdoor tea? What would be my decorating theme? The most crucial issue, though, was who would compose the guest list. Friends from church, coworkers, neighbors, family members…all smiled engagingly as they paraded through my thoughts like fashion models before a judge.

Then… inspiration struck! I would invite my best friends from childhood and youth—those whose influence had been so instrumental in shaping who I am now. With them, I had laughed, cried, and schemed. I had shared their dreams, discouragements, triumphs, and frustrations. Each one was a caring, creative, intelligent person of profound depth, who left a great impression on my character and values. None was perfect, but all were truehearted.

I pictured in my imagination their arrivals at the party…

Sweet and sunny Polly appeared a little early, carrying a pot of glowing pansies that she handed me as she headed for the kitchen to help with whatever luncheon preparations might be left.

Rose rang the doorbell next, and we embraced warmly. She was wealthier than any of the rest of us, but wasn’t a bit snobbish or ostentatious. She passed me a book to read about simplifying our lives, as she had a strong social consciousness and was generous in giving time and money to causes that served the oppressed and needy.

Tall, stylish Anne, my very best friend, arrived a few minutes later. No matter how long we’d been apart, there was instant camaraderie when we got together again. We’d always had a lot in common, and I’d enjoyed many hours with her. We’d both gotten excellent grades in school and had become elementary teachers. Favorite pastimes we shared were reading, writing stories, acting out dramas, and being outdoors in all kinds of weather.

Serious-minded Elnora knocked next, with some colorful drawings peeking out of a portfolio. She’d survived a difficult childhood, but instead of it leaving her with a bitter attitude, she gained a strong, independent spirit. Elnora had always been the real nature lover among and knew more about natural science than anyone I’d ever met.

Jo made her entrance a little late and out of breath. She was the most outspoken of my friends but was honest and good-hearted. I wasn’t quite as close to her as to some of the others, but she was stimulating to be around, and I admired her immensely. Her dramatic personality fitted her well for the life of a writer and for her involvement in amateur theater productions.

I could imagine our tea table conversation…

Jo would display keen insight as she discussed politics and world events with animated enthusiasm, while managing to simultaneously knock her cake plate in her lap and spill half her tea. Polly would jump up to help clean up the mess and then talk with quiet contentment about her husband and home life. Elnora would share with us about her nature sketches that were to be included in an elementary-level science magazine, as we all heartily congratulated her. Rose would discourse passionately about the needs of single moms, the unemployed, and the disabled whom she served each week at a shelter in her city. Anne would set us all to laughing with a hysterical story about the antics of her five children. I would just smile and listen, pleased and honored to be among such talented, purposeful women.


My eyes blinked in the sunlight as I opened them again. Yes, these were the ladies I’d like to include at my tea, but it would all have to take place in my mind, as they were friends of literature and fiction—Anne of Green Gables, “Little Women’s” Jo, Rose Campbell of L.M. Alcott’s “Rose in Bloom,” Elnora in “Girl of the Limberlost,” and Polly from Alcott’s “An Old-fashioned Girl.”

They may be “pen and paper” phantoms, but their impact on my life was powerful and real.

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This article has been read 1016 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharlyn Guthrie02/01/07
I enjoyed this tremendously. And if it were possible, I would love to be invited to your tea as well! You captured the personalities well.
Donna Powers 02/04/07
What a wonderful idea! Even though I didn't know all of these characters, I knew enough of them to know you'd captured their personalities well. Very imaginative and nicely done!
Loren T. Lowery02/05/07
Know what? You wrote these characters so well that I recognized almost all of them before you formally introduced them to us!

I would say, that makes you a grand writer! Well done.
Helen Paynter02/06/07
Very nice writing - strong and engaging from beginning to end.
Patty Wysong02/06/07
I loved it. I would have guessed your friends were real if I hadn't recognized them. :-)
Pamela Kliewer02/06/07
Wow!!! This is fantastic! I didn't even know you were writing about fictional characters. Good job!!!
Julie Arduini02/07/07
What wonderful imagination and descriptions of beloved characters. Your last line is so true. I don't like tea, but what a fun event that would be!
Sara Harricharan 02/07/07
I LOVE this! What a wonderful idea (and great tribute) to favorite classics and stories of our own. The tea party idea was quite wonderful and I almost recognized the character of "Jo" (one of my faves) but the ending was otherwise a complete surprise and very well done! I think this is one of my favorites this week. Amazing writing! ^_^
Pat Guy 02/07/07
Bravo on a well written 'entertaining' entry! Very well done and a good read to boot! Yes, VERY god job!
Sara Harricharan 02/08/07
Bonnie Way02/08/07
LOVED this story! Very good work here. I know a few of your friends very well myself, and I really liked how your personalized them for your tea party. Great writing!