Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: New Year (05/09/05)
TITLE: Nick's New Year
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Dora Mae and Elsie, two women I have known for, well lets just say, a long long time, stood on my welcome mat beaming as I walked down the hall. “Whatever has gotten into you two girls?” I was somewhat surprised at their enthusiasm as I opened the door.
Dora Mae pushed by me as soon as I opened the door. “You got your set on Channel 5, they got a Nick Sparks interview this morning.” Nicholas Sparks, the author of “Notebook,” and other works is a hometown celebrity.
I was watching the news on Fox or CNN or whatever the newest rendition of headline news had come to be. “You can change the channel, Dora Mae, I’m not watching anyway.” Well, it was a white lie, I had been watching, but dozing at the same time.
“Bee darling, do you have tea this morning?” Elsie Davenport lived two doors down from me and seemed to be void of any kind of tea in her cupboard.
“Frig Elsie, you know where everything is.” Elsie regularly raided my refrigerator for everything from iced tea to eggs. All three of us are helped along by social security and a bit of our late husband's pensions. Oh, did I mention, we are all widows.
Dora Mae seemed to do better than Elsie or me; Dora’s husband, Carl, worked as an engineer doing Lord knows whatever with jet aircraft at Cherry Point Marine Air Station. Elsie lived on a teacher’s retirement and the bit of IRA left to her by John – poor John, we always called him – drove a beat up Chevy truck. Well, the third member of this unlikely gang - me. My husband Willie, my life mate, lover, and provider, joined the Lord eighteen months ago – his big heart just stopped; he had put in countless hours serving his country without recognition – officially he was a produce man – but we can discuss that another time.
Dora Mae was on my couch with the channel selector in her hand, Elsie had her face in the refrigerator, and I was left standing in the hallway holding the door for a reluctant cat.
“Bee, darling.” Elsie always stuck a “darling,” on the end of her imperatives; I think she watched “Gone with the Wind" too many times. “Sweetie,” she continued, “do you have any girl scout cookies left?”
Naturally, I buy a dozen or so boxes each year, stick them in the freezer, and then bring them out for grandchildren and guests. Elsie hardly qualified as a guest, but I let her have some anyway.
“Freezer Elsie.” The cat managed to decide on the outdoors, so I closed the door and headed for the kitchen. In the living room I could hear the local announcer proclaim the name of Nicholas Sparks.
“Girls, Nick is on.” Why Dora Mae had a certain affinity for the author I will never know, I don’t particularly care for his patronizing style. She had even started referring to him as “Nick,” as if she had a personal acquaintance.
Elsie appeared in the living room with two iced teas and a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints. “I left mine in the kitchen,” she said, and then returned to retrieve another box of cookies and her own iced tea.
“Hot tea woulda been better.” Dora Mae finally noticed the refreshment table.
“Bee didn’t make any,” Elsie sat down on the overstuffed chair. Her tiny frame disappeared into the fabric.
I was already seated in an armchair, and was preparing to agree with Dora Mae when Elsie indicated my hostessing error. “Excuse me,” I said, pretending to be insulted. At my age it is very difficult to insult or hurt me. I like to say - the best have tried. I picked up the iced tea glass. “So, what do we toast today?”
“Thank the Lord we made it though another year.” Dora spoke without moving her head from the television set.
“Oh, darling, how about toasting to all the Lord’s work this past year.” Elsie was struggling out of the chair.
“How about a toast to the Lord’s continuing work,” I wasn’t about to be outdone.
Somewhere in the background I was sure I heard Nicholas Sparks say, “happy New Year.”
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