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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: The Three Foot Tornado On Aisle Nine
By Janice Fitzpatrick


Catherine’s cart was already half filled with food products and training pants when Marcus decided to fuss. “I want down”, her chubby cheeked blue eyed son insisted loudly with such determination that toddlers and teen-agers seem to possess so greatly.

“She glanced at her watch and sighed. “Not right now, maybe in a little while.” There were still loads of errands to run and at least a hundred baskets of laundry to do. It had been a long day already and she wanted nothing more than to submerge in a bathtub of perfumed bubbles with a glass of ice tea by her side.

As Catherine looked up she saw a small framed woman, whose cerulean grayish hair pointed almost in two horns above her head. The lady peered at her through wire glasses, resembling an old barn owl, with it’s head wobbling back and forth.

What was the lady staring at? Catherine wiped the corners of her mouth self consciously and peered down at her blouse. Did she have breakfast on her face or had she spilled something?

Suddenly, she heard a clamor rising from the heap of jars and boxes in her cart. “I want out!” Marcus had covered himself almost entirely with groceries, as if they were mounds of sand on a warm summer beach, and now rose quickly, scattering produce and canned goods every which way.

Before Catherine knew what she was doing she reached in the rubble, grabbed the wailing tike, and lowered him to freedom, and her position as parent. She felt sheepish and wished there were a crevice in the wall somewhere so she could creep away but the only cracks were in the scattered eggs, that were now dripping and oozing over the edges of Styrofoam and metal.

Instantly the little bluish gray haired lady whisked by her like an Indies 500 racer, grunting in disapproval, leaving Catherine in a cloud of bewilderment. Just as she turned back to scold Marcus, her heart dropped. Her baby was gone.

He couldn’t disappear that fast. “Marcus,”
Her voice now filled with concern. “Where are you?” She could hear a squeal of playful delight coming from aisle nine as Marcus raced at top speed, as fast as his little legs could carry him, thinking it was a game.

Out of no where whirled a caged basket on wheels, spinning almost as fast as her toddler. Catherine clasped her face as she saw her tot and the oncoming cart approaching each other.

“Stop!” her voice rose above the dreary melodies that drifted from the speakers and she was certain everyone heard her within a five mile radius.

The wheels immediately came to a halt as the rotund gentleman exhaled in relief and waited for Catherine to rescue her son. “What a little tornado,” he shook his head. “Ya ought ta slow down.”

She scooped Marcus up in her arms and nodded in agreement. “Thank you sir,” her heart pounded.

Relieved that the barn owl woman had left already, Catherine took a deep breath as a multitude of requests came pouring out from the now tired toddler, “I want…I want…” With Marcus in one arm she cleared a space for him to sit in the cart as she began to sing softly, “Jesus loves me this I know…”

By the time mother and son had made it through the checkout lane and into the car they were both weary. Catherine looked back at the sleeping angelic face in her mirror and smiled to think of the fiasco just moments earlier. How many times had she twisted and turned through life wanting her way when her Heavenly Father was trying to protect her? She mused.

“Not right now” were often the words He spoke to her and it was God who would fervently plea, “Stop, you’re heading for trouble, I don't want you to get hurt.” In His wisdom He would direct her if she would just listen and obey.

Lately she had been so busy with daily demands and distractions that she didn’t have time to just get still.
Catherine prayed quietly, “Father, I surrender my will and my time. Help me to be content to stay where you put me until you tell me.

She glanced back at her pint size tornado and asked the Lord for strength and wisdom. She had a feeling there would be more aisle nines ahead.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Valora Otis03/08/07
I had four tornado's! LOL! I can relate to your story. Wow! I did find the italics a little distracting as a reader, but that's just me. You kept me entertained from start to finish. I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future.
Jacquelyn Horne03/10/07
Good writing. I walked all the way through the store with you, and felt your embarrassment. Good ending comparison.
Marilee Alvey03/10/07
This was well done. Your title caught my attention and your description "barn owl woman," etc., was very creative. You did put me right there, pushing that cart. Been there, done that, thanks for the reminder. This story would have just been another sweet, cute story but for the application and takeaway. You gave us a gift that we will remember long after the sweet story is gone. Nice work. You've got talent.
Mona Lisa03/11/07
You tied the three components of your story with a great conclusion.
'the barn owl woman' is representative of secular judgment upon us when we are faced with getting into trouble. the child portrays us in pursuit of what is not always best. The mother symbolizes our Lord gently coming to our rescue, singing, 'Jesus loves me this I know...' Great word pictures. I was led to laughter in your description of 'the barn owl woman'. Great job!
Clyde Blakely03/11/07
Great story. I followed you with the cart also, but from a distance, laughing all the way. I liked many of you phrases, such as "lowered herself as a parent". Great flow. Keep writing and God bless.
Donna Powers 03/12/07
A cute and believable story and you wrote it well. Nice work! Love the title
Brenda Welc03/13/07
Wow! I loved your story, I didn't see the end coming.
Myrna Noyes03/14/07
I was captured by your title and enjoyed the whole read! I appreciated your ending message, too!
Carolyn Baney03/15/07
Great story! I'm living this now with 4 kids so I could relate. Most of all, I enjoyed the symbolism of the story, and its wonderful message. A lot of excellent writing on this website. However, I'm most intrigued by the stories that keep me thinking afterwards. Again, very well done.