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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: The Hinge
By Marita Thelander


The Hinge

Dot shuffled through the kitchen gulping the last swallow of her coffee bottoms up style. Wiping the dripping liquid from her mouth with her sleeve, she placed the cup in the already overflowing sink. As she peered out the dirty window, a toothless grin spread across her face.

“It’s a beautiful spring day.” She voiced out loud. “Gonna get my rubber boots on and start gettin’ my garden ready.”

Humming a tune of her own, Dot donned her favorite straw gardening hat and her rubber boots and headed out the front door. The screen door slammed shut and Dot looked back as if she was offended.

“Dagnabit!” Dot scowled at the door as if it could hear her. “I’m gonna hafta fix your hinge yet?”

Dot gave the screen door a once over look as she opened it back up for inspection. The top hinge was coming loose and needed to have a screwdriver taken to it. When she let go of the door she noticed that the door banged on the frame.

“Been gettin’ worse all winter long.” She mumbled as she began to rummage through a pile of odds and ends on one end of the porch.

Dot stood up suddenly, holding a stack of plastic mini muffin containers from the bakery at the grocery store. “These will be perfect for startin’ my tomatoes.”

Excited about the thought of gardening, Dot waddled out to her shed in the back yard in search of seed packets and potting soil. Opening the door slowly, she waved her arms in the air to wipe down any spider webs that might be in the way. Continuing to wave her arms, she searched for the string tied to a chain, in the middle of the shed. A quick pull to turn on the light and, “click”….. No light.

“Dagnabit! Light’s burnt out.” Waving her arms again, Dot headed out of the shed. “Forgot that light burnt out last summer,” she mumbled to herself on the way to the house in search of a light bulb.

Slam! The screen door banged. Dot turned and glared at it as she shuffled to the cupboard in the laundry room. Soon she was heading out the door with a fresh light bulb in hand.

As morning slipped away, Dot happily hummed and mumbled while filling the plastic mini muffin trays with dirt and tomato seeds. She carefully placed the finished products in the window of the shed where they would be greeted each day by the warm spring sun.

Realizing that several hours had passed since she had eaten anything, Dot shuffled back towards the house. Slam! This time the screen door slammed so hard the screws to the hinge came completely out of the door frame. Dot’s mind was on her growling stomach and she didn’t even bat an eye at the noise from the screen door.

Soon her lunch dishes were added to the ever growing pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Grabbing a bag of potatoes off the table, Dot shuffled towards the door. Opening the screen door all the way, she placed the bag of potatoes on the porch to prop the offending screen door open.

“No more banging from you today.” Dot proclaimed on her way to her garden.

Long after the sun had gone down, Dot was sitting with her feet up and smiling quietly to herself. She had worked in her garden and she was happy. The wind blew and the screen door, still propped open by the bag of potatoes, flapped quietly. Dot had decided she would hunt for the screwdriver tomorrow and fix that hinge.

All throughout the night, the wind howled as a thunder storm blew through the area. As Dot awoke in the morning the sun was shining and plump red breasted robins were happily hunting for fat worms and bathing in the puddles. Dot downed the last of her coffee, wiped her mouth with her sleeve and gazed out the dirty kitchen window.

“Maybe I’ll get to work in the garden again today.” She mumbled as a toothless grin spread across her face. Donning her straw hat, and slipping into her rubber boots, she shuffled for the door.

Opening the door, Dot was shocked to see her screen door lying in her garden. Caught by the wind it had blown off the remaining hinges. Kicking the bag of potatoes with her rubber booted toe all she could say was, “Dagnabit!”

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This article has been read 839 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon Henderson01/10/08
This is just doggone precious. At first I thought the dishes or the windows would be the 'stitch' but I like the way it worked out.
James Dixon01/10/08
Dot is a supurb comic character. Keep having fun with her.
Jan Ackerson 01/10/08
Patty Wysong01/10/08
This was fun! Dot was very well done! :)
Yvonne Blake 01/11/08
(SMILE!) Good descriptions! I could just see Dot and her house! I was surprised that she actually did get some gardenting done!
Good job! Keep writing.
James Clem 01/14/08
Good descriptions and solid story flow. Overall very clean writing. Move up to level 2 whenever you're ready.
Temple Miller01/14/08
I loved the MC's ongoing dialogue with herself, and I loved the voice. Very entertaining and the message came through loud and clear.
Catrina Bradley 01/14/08
Dagnabbit, this is good! :) I thought I was the only one who used that expression. Great characterization, great descriptions. A few tiny punctuation slips is the only thing I see to critique in the thoroughly enjoyable piece. Love the ending.
Hanne Moon 01/14/08
Very good! I enjoyed your MC very much! Except for a few punctuation errors, I can't see anything to red ink! Keep up the good work!
Lyn Churchyard01/15/08
LOL That was priceless!

I think Dot and I would get along just fine. She could do my gardening and I'd mend her screen door.

If you get the chance, write some more Dotty stories :)
Laury Hubrich 01/15/08
This was WONDERFUL and if I went to the right place from the hint - then I'd say all your worrying is for NOTHING! You have shown superb writing ability. You are a GREAT story teller. I loved this character! I haven't read many from this level yet but I would venture to say you will be right up there. Great job!
Beckie Stewart01/15/08
What a delightful story to read!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/16/08
I believe you'll be moving out of "beginners" very soon. This is a delightful story. Your descriptions are superb.
Julie Ruspoli01/16/08
Oh how special. I enjoyed reading this so much. Your character is intriquing and I would love to garden with her. :) Great writing.
Sara Harricharan 01/16/08
Congrats on creating a truly memorable character! Dot is such a darling, I felt like I was her shadow following her about the place and realizing that I tend to forget the lightbulb that blew a few weeks ago until I need to get in the shed to get something...and then the story repeats itself. I liked how she took things as she went, finding the muffin containers, etc. Great job! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery01/16/08
Ma and Pa move over and meet Dot! What a great story teller you are and delivering a good on target message to boot. I can't see you at this level for long. Great job.
Beth LaBuff 01/16/08
What fun! I loved the coffee drinking description and her toothless grin. :) I'd love to meet this lady. Great writing!
Sally Hanan01/24/08
Yup; once again, this was a great piece of writing. It might have placed if the lesson learned was something bigger than a screen door lying on the ground. The other thing is that the judges are different each week, so while one set of judges might go for a literary style, the next week's might prefer poetry, so the best you can do is simply write what makes you smile and hope that you get lucky to have judges who like what you like. I agree that you should be in Intermediate, but I understand too the desire to at least be placed here, so stay where you are and don't you dare stop writing!!