Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: Mr. Barton
By Mary McLeary


Mr. Barton

Don and I had only been dating a few months when he asked me to ride out and meet his dad at the construction site where he was working as Building Foreman. I said , “Sure!” and we took off to meet my future Father-in-law.

Don had already met my dad., Mr. Buck, as my friends called Daddy, was a small man who loved to listen to Dixieland music, make authentic Italian spaghetti and tell stories of some of his World War II adventures. He was a mail carrier with the Postal Service and because he was “on the road” a week and off a week, he often helped mother with grocery shopping and cleaning the house. It never dawned on me that in the early sixties this might not be the norm.

As we drove up to the work site, the pavement simmered in the summer sun. Don braked, rolled down his window and yelled, “Hey Dad!” In a minute the biggest, brownest pair of hands and forearms I had ever seen gripped the lowered window. Then there appeared a tanned face with piercing blue eyes. The mouth did not smile. He looked tough! “What are you doing here?” was all he said. Don quickly told him who I was and that we were just out “riding around” He looked at us for only a minute, and said, “OK, see you later”. He then turned and went back to his work. When Don looked over at me he seemed embarrassed. My eyes were as big as saucers. Wow! He was nothing like MY dad!

Through the years I learned that Mr. Barton worked hard and played hard. His contribution to housework was to watch his wife do it. He usually got on my last nerve. I always wanted him to be softer, gentler, more like my dad and he just couldn’t be. It seemed to me that everything had to revolve around him. But when we lost one of our infant twins, Mr. Barton took care of all the arrangements. We found that our other twin was severely handicapped. As he grew, Mr. Barton held him, hugged him and rolled him around on the floor to make him laugh. When Matt got older, it was Mr. Barton he mimicked with “Hey there, Boy!” Matt could sound just like him!

Matthew 7:16 says, “By their fruits you shall know them.” I ignored Mr. Barton’s fruits for a long time. I only focused on his thorns, but he left lots of “fruit”. He left four sons all of whom have an excellent work ethic. He left eight grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren. He had to pass up veterinarian training to help on the farm, but all his grandchildren have college degrees. He left his sons a home place with a yard full of azalea bushes and fruit trees. He left a small house full of memories where all of us still gather on special occasions. He led by example, not words. He loved his wife. He worked at what ever his hands found to do to put food on the table. He stayed around when times got tough! Finally, on the night he passed away he was able to tell his sons he loved them.

I was so judgmental with my father-in-law! Thank goodness he was kinder with me. As different as he was from my dad, Mr. Barton holds a special place in my heart. I learned a lot from him – mainly that love can be tough.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE

JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 503 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Millicent Pat-Nwaoyo05/15/08
I am not a great fan of tough love but i do get your message. I have a few people in my life similar to Mr. Barton. Thank you for teaching me to look for the friuts and not the thorns. I had fun while reading your article. Stay blessed.
Phyllis Inniss05/15/08
You passed on an important lesson here. We must always look for the good in others and not expect them to be the way we would like. Your writing is excellent and it brought out clearly what you intended. Thanks for sharing.
Sara Harricharan 05/15/08
Loved your last paragraph! And I liked how you described the first meeting, seeing those huge hands! ^_^ Great job!
Neal Eckert05/16/08
Thanks for sharing this story from your personal life. You did a good job of sharing your struggle with your father-in-law and in showing the very gradual warming up to him that culminated in you being able to accept his difference in personality.
Willena Flewelling 05/21/08
Some treasures are hidden, but they are well worth digging for. Mr. Barton had much buried treasure in his soul, and my favourite way he showed it was by loving his handicapped grandson.
Tina Dane05/22/08
Mary...I enjoyed your piece very much! You captured me into it and I love the way you turned it into a thought provoking lesson.

Tina Dane
Joanne Sher 05/23/08
Congratulations, Mary, on placing tenth in your level with this piece. Great job!