Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: Thank you for Mrs. Rothchild
By Marlene Austin
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Ashley was scrubbing the fourth table, when Mrs. Rothchild stopped by the cottage-style door. Scrutinizing the partially cleaned area through the opened upper half, she announced her presence, “Good morning, Ashley. It’s so good to see a young adult here with adequate time to spare. Seems we are having more and more young people popping through the doors right as, or even after, the beginning bell rings. Disgraceful! You would think these young people could set their alarms a few minutes earlier and get here on time.”
“Yes, Mrs. Rothchild, but many have small children, and so many unexpected things can happen.”
“Of course, dear, but every Sunday? I mean, I have arthritis and it’s very hard for me to get around, but I just make sure I give myself adequate time to get where I’m going. But, I’m of another generation, you know.”
And, you have no one else to get ready, do you?
“Oh, I see you are washing and changing the sheets. You know I saw some on sale just the other day and thought about buying a set or two for the nursery, but they were so plain. I felt the church deserved better.”
The church deserves any that are clean and ready to use. “Well, you know, it really wouldn’t matter. We could always use some new….”
“Well, I don’t know when I’ll be back there. Why, helloooo, Mr. Carter.”
“Hello, Emma. Excuse me, I need to return this rocker. Ashley, I came by after service last Sunday and heard this rocker making an awful screech, so I took it home, oiled it, and tightened the joints. Now I think it’ll do just fine.”
“Thank you, Mr. Carter. We’ve had trouble with that old rocker for some time, but we just didn’t know what to do with it. Why, listen, it doesn’t make a sound. That’s just wonderful.”
Emma chimed in, “You know, I saw that old rocker of Mom’s just the other day and thought about donating it to the nursery in memory of Mom, but it’s about 40 years old, and I figure if I just hang on to it a few more years, it’ll be a valuable antique. It’s in ‘like-new’ condition, you know.”
“Oh, Emma. That rocker ain’t ever gonna be an antique. It was inexpensive when it was bought. Your folks always bought everything down at the old Sears & Roebuck’s. These ladies could really use it in here with all the babies they have to take care of, now.”
“Well, I just don’t know that I could stand to get rid of it, so many fond memories. And, after all, one never knows when there might be a real need of it. I’m not getting any younger, you know.”
At that time, Christy came hurrying in, “’Morning, everybody. I tried to get here a little early, just in case you needed some help, Ashley.”
“Oh, thanks, Christy. Actually, the sheets for the cribs should be ready to come out of the dryer by now. If you don’t mind getting those…”
“Hi. How is everyone? Ashley, here’s a bag with some juice and crackers. I noticed we were getting low the last time I stayed in the nursery.”
“Why, thank you, Sharon. I hadn’t even had time to check the shelves, yet.”
With all the people beginning to come in, and the conversation no longer being carried by her, Mrs. Rothchild proclaimed, “Well, I was glad to keep you company until your teachers got here, Ashley, but, I guess I’d better be getting to my classroom, now. They always expect me to be in my place, you know. Besides, the coffee should be made by now,” she added as she made her noticeable path down the hallway.
As the time approached for the children to begin arriving, Ashley called her workers over for prayer. She thanked God for the day and for the children they would care for. Then, she thanked God for Mr. Carter’s sharing his gift of workmanship; for Christy’s willingness to do whatever was needed; and, for Sharon’s generosity and attention to detail. She ended the prayer by thanking God for Mrs. Rothchild, “And, thank you, God, for Mrs. Rothchild, for this gentle reminder of our purpose here.”
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