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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: Furry, Feathery Jingle Prayers
By Julie Paulsen


Every now and then my Grandma had a soft jingle as she walked. She wasn’t like other Grandmothers whose clicking heals or huffing and puffing signaled their presence. Her soft tinkling sound always meant one thing; Grandma was all dressed up. Extraordinary moments happened when Grandma dressed up! Sometimes, when cool winds blew, she wore her mink stole, and sometimes she wore her red, feathered hat, but she always wore her Grandma’s charm bracelet. And that sound told me that something special was about to happen!

Sunday was a dress up day for everyone as we all met to worship. Squirming my way to sit next to Grandma was my plan, which usually worked. It was fascinating how Grandma always jingled in church, chiming right along with the organ. Oh, how I loved to sit there snuggled next to her, twirling her bracelet round and round repeating names on all the heart shapes for the girl cousins, Barbara, Beverly, Julie, Donna, and Kimberly. The hearts were my favorite, reserved for the girls, and how we girls love anything that represents love. The boys had golden round disks, plain old circles for Gary, Terry, John and Jim.

Cooler days were my favorite, for then Grandma would wear the eerie mink stole that Grandpa bought her for a special anniversary. Fox stoles are extinct these days, but I don’t have to see one to remember how the whole head was part of the wrap. Draping the stole around the neck and shoulders, Grandma would open the mink’s mouth and clamp it to the tail, as if the little creature was perpetually chasing its tail. It’s fake beady eyes were always glaring at me, so I didn’t look at the head, it wasn’t what interested me anyway…I just liked to pet the mink and enjoy the soft velvety fur.

Back then women wore hats. Grandma had a closet full of stacked hatboxes, way up high where I couldn’t reach. Many grandmas wore flowery hats, or little veiled hats, but my Grandma had the best, a red feather hat shaped like a beehive. The swirling crimson plumes started at the bottom, and went round and round the hat, reaching up to the top. I could look, but only Grandma could touch the red feather hat!

Then, one very special Sunday, I got up my nerve. “Grandma, I’d love to try on your hat”, I stated as she was beginning to undress. She looked down at me with her lovely blue eyes, and I knew by her look and half smile that today was the day. “Sure, Honey, and let’s go outside and get a picture of you all dolled up.” I was out the door before Grandpa got the camera. When they came outside I was standing in front of Grandpa’s flower garden, all ready for the shot, which through the years has become a favorite memory. I was proudly wearing the fur and feathers, but I never remember wearing the charm bracelet, only touching it.

Grandma died in 1977 leaving the charm bracelet to her daughter, my mother. After Mother died in 1993, each charm remained in its place for a few years until Dad broke it up, sending each charm to its owner. From that day until today, around my neck hangs a golden heart, etched in flourishing Spencerian handwriting…Donna Leslie 11-28-1951. I love my charm, but it never jingles as it did for Grandma. Dangling all alone, it’s a silent reminder of many tender childhood memories.

Over the years I dreamed of the day I would become a Grandma and that day is here! I don’t own a fur and I only wear a hat on one of our blustery Chicago winter days, but I do have a Grandma’s jingle. Around my wrist, every day, I wear a lovely, silver reminder to pray for Everett, Hazel, Miles, Luke, Henry, Caleb and the new blessing expected this fall. They’re a noisy bunch of charms, not quite as noisy as when we are all together, but noisy enough to cause one of them to stop now and then to ask, “Grandma, who’s this?” Then, round and round they go, lingering at their name, snuggling in close, not knowing that that precious jingle is a reminder for me to pray for every one of them.

“They won’t labor in vain, or bear offspring for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord, and their descendants with them.” Isaiah 65:23 NASB

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This article has been read 511 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marie Hearty 04/10/08
Very nice story. Great description.
Sara Harricharan 04/10/08
This is a favorite of mine this week! I honestly enjoyed the entire read that I had to go over the last part again. I loved how you used your title to tie into the charm bracelet and the hats. You did great with descriptions, I could see that red feather beehive hat! Very creative-great writing! ^_^
Debbie Wistrom04/10/08
I had fun with this. Thanks for a different look at grandmas. I loved how your character came full circle.
Lauryn Abbott04/10/08
What a lovely story. Your descriptions are great! I really enjoyed this.
Glynis Becker04/10/08
This one definitely made me smile. Lovely descriptions...I can just hear the charm bracelet. Keep up the great work.
Chely Roach04/11/08
I loved the line, "Dangling all alone, it’s a silent reminder of many tender childhood memories."
Wonderful, sweet story!
Marsha Landers04/11/08
Very enjoyable! I can just see your grandma dressed up! Sweet reminders to pray. Good job.
Karen Wilber04/11/08
The title really caught my eye. I loved your image of the charm bracelet with its jingle and the grandmother praying as she touched the charms. I was sad when the charm was all alone, not on the bracelet anymore. Then happy again that a new bracelet started. Beautiful.
Elizabeth Harshbarger04/11/08
The title suits the story very well. This is a lady I would have liked to know. Your portrayal is vivid, realistic and loving. I could almost hear the jingling charms. Very nice.
Gregory Kane04/11/08
This was a delight to read. Keep on writing like this and you won’t be long in Beginners. Your title said it all!
Tessy Fuller04/11/08
This is my favorite so far. It captured such a beautiful portrayal of love - speaking volumes in the charm bracelet alone. A grandma that jingles...Love it!! If this is a true story I would love to see a picture of you in the fur and hat. *Smile*
Lyn Churchyard04/11/08
What wonderful memories! Very well written - I could actually 'hear' it as I was reading it. Good job!
Joshua Janoski04/12/08
With writing like this, you will be moving out of beginners very quickly. Another of my favorites in beginners this week. Wonderful writing. Your descriptions put me right in the story, and I could hear the jingling. :)
Helen Dowd04/15/08
Great tribute to your grandmother, and well-written too. I like your title. It is intriguing, inviting people to read it...You did a great job...
Sheri Gordon04/17/08
Congratulations on your Highly Commended. This is a very sweet tribute to your grandmother.

My great-aunt had a mink stole (without the head). I, too, used to sit by her in church, petting the stole.

Thank you for the walk down memory lane.