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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)

TITLE: Reunion at the Beach
By Venice Kichura


“Take me now, Sonny. Today would have been our fiftieth wedding anniversary if my Walter hadn’t died nine months ago.”

“But Aunt Bessie, you know I can’t take you to the beach. You need your rest and probably the nursing home director won’t let you go.”

“Oh fiddlesticks.” “Tell him whatever you have to. Just grant a sick, old woman one last wish.”

Arguing with his stubborn old aunt was nothing unusual for Pastor Delwin. He may have led countless souls to Christ as a gifted preacher, but when it came to persuading his Aunt Bessie about anything, especially her soul, it was a lost cause.

Affectionately called “Sonny” for the son she never had, Delwin was her only living relative. Bessie’s late husband, his Uncle Walter, had been her whole life and now she was alone. When he passed away part of Bessie died, too. Unable to live alone, she went into a nursing home, as she recuperated from two major heart attacks.

“Okay,” he said, reluctantly.
Wheeling Aunt Bessie to the front desk, he said. “I want to take my aunt out for just a couple of hours.”
“All right, just watch her carefully and bring her back before dark,” the director said.

Lifting her frail, 98-pound body from the wheelchair into the front seat, Delwin carefully fastened her seat belt and closed the car door, praying silently, “She’s all yours, Lord. This trip is against my better judgment, but I’m listening to my heart. I place her in your hands.”

As he drove, Bessie retold the familiar story of how she and Walter had rekindled a teenage romance almost 51 years ago at a high school reunion beach party. Six months later they stood in front of the ocean, saying “I do”. Each year on their anniversary they would return to the beach.
They had enjoyed a charmed life together. The only thing missing was a common faith. Uncle Walter was a Christian, but Aunt Bessie was not the religious type, although she was a devoted wife. After awhile, Uncle Walter stopped saving her a seat at church.
Smelling the fresh, salty air, they knew the beach was up ahead.
“There‘s the spot!” exclaimed Aunt Bessie. “It’s under that palm tree that we got married.”

Delwin drove into the beach parking lot and debated if she should get out. The excitement would be too much for her, he thought.

Instead of insisting they get out of the car, Bessie suddenly became quiet. Her tired, hazel eyes grew serious. She turned to her nephew and asked. “Is it too late?”

“No, the beach doesn’t close until dark. But I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to get out. Remember your heart.”

“Hold on, Sonny. You don’t understand. Is it too late for me? I want you to baptize me. I want to go to heaven, but I’m not good enough.”
Delwin was stunned! After all these years his obstinate aunt wanted salvation.

“Oh, Aunt Bessie, “No one is good enough,” he said, silently thanking God for an open door.
Praying for the right words, he heard himself say, “Let’s go down to the beach. I’ll carry you.”
Carrying her to the shore, he said, “See all those footprints? Imagine they’re your sins. Now look at the oncoming wave crashing over them. They’re all gone, now, washed away forever. It’s the same with our sins. When we accept Jesus, God washes over our sins and carries them out to sea.
Aunt Bessie’s eyes melted. “
“Now I understand. That’s what I want, Sonny.”

Delwin sat her down on a towel, under the same palm tree where she got married, and took her wrinkled 90-year-old hands in his. Trembling, she repeated after him a simple prayer of repentance and salvation, asking Jesus into her heart.
Scooping water into an empty can lying on the sand, Delwin sprinkled it on her white, uncombed hair. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” he said.
“I’m ready now, Sonny. Bessie’s eyes closed and she peacefully slipped into eternity. She was with Walter, again, on their golden anniversary.

They had kept their yearly date at the beach.

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This article has been read 2489 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carol Adams 07/11/05
Well done. Your piece was right on target and as I read it, it reminded me of my grandfather before he died. I enjoyed it very much.
Billie Jean Millen07/11/05
Very touching. Nice story. I like the way the story built to the poignant conclusion.
Nina Phillips07/11/05
I agree the story line followed through to the end. Very nice beginning and ending, closely related. God bless,
Phyllis Inniss07/12/05
This is such a lovely entry. It held the reader's interest throughout and the end was unexpected but brilliant.
Shari Armstrong 07/12/05
It's never too late while we're still alive. A nicely told story.
Christine Sparrow07/13/05
I know the type of old lady you spoke of because you did it so well. I thought you were going to imerse her like the Bible says but I guess she wasn't up to that. Beautiful story !
dub W07/14/05
Well done, good flow, and nice character descriptions.
Linda Germain 07/14/05
Well, it made ME cry for sure! Very well done, and so full of meaning.I loved it . (and WHY aren't you at least in Intermediate? :0) )
Shannon Redmon07/14/05
This made me cry! Beautiful story!
Debbie OConnor07/18/05
So beautiful! I loved your descriptions, I could see Aunt Bessie bossing her nephew. Delightful. And the conclusion was perfect. Congratulations on a well deserved win!
Donna J. Shepherd07/18/05
Just lovely. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. - Donna
Sandra Snowden07/18/05
This was so real to me. I felt all the emotions and mostly the joy of Auntie accepting Christ. Great job
Deborah Porter 07/18/05
Venice, this was a truly lovely story and it definitely deserved to do as well as it did. Congratulations on your 1st place in the Level 1 awards, AND, even more exciting, your 2nd place in the Editors' Choice Awards. Quite an achievement for a Level 1 entrant. So with those wins behind you, it's definitely time to move up a level. Well done. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Daniele Moskal07/19/05
Congratulations Venice!! You deserve to be honoured by your peers; a very well-written challege article. Many thanks for sharing it with us!!
God is taking you to your prepared place Venice- another level in Jesus Christ's faithful name!! God Bless love always from JOHN 3-34 Evangelist Daniele Luciano Moskal xxx