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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: Calling Olan Mills!
By Judy Watters


The coming of Christmas brings pleasant thoughts of the usual baking of Christmas cookies,
shopping and parties, but this year I plan to start a new tradition. With 5-year-old Aaron, 3-year-
old Emily, and 6-month-old Kyle, this is the year to start sending picture greeting cards to friends
and loved ones. No more waiting till Christmas Day for Aunt Tilly to snap a picture of each
family by the tree. This year we will go professional. All of our relatives and friends will think
our picture is so cute and will put it front and center on their refrigerators. Olan Mills is an old
name in studios; they must be good to have lasted this long.

With much coaxing, hubby Larry finally realizes what a great decision he has made to have a
professional greeting card done this year. Now, the hunt for the right clothes. Should we all dress
in the same color? Or just in Christmas colors? Red, blue, green…a smattering of exciting
primary colors is perfect for us. But baby Kyle can wear that beautiful white satin suit with the
white bow tie and bright blue shirt that grandma sent when he was born. At the time I thought it
was a crazy gift; he would have it a mess the first time he wore it. But this is a special occasion,
and so what if he gets it a little dirty. It will be too small for him real soon. Emily can wear the
red velvet dress that Aunt Virginia sent us as a hand-me-down from Yvonne last year. And
Aaron, he will wear the blue vest over his long sleeved white shirt and his new black pants. Larry
and I have our special Christmas clothes that we wore last year, and we never had a picture taken
in them.

Off to Olan Mills. Our appointment is at 11 AM, right after Kyle's morning nap, so he'll be in
perfect form, my happy baby. Oh, dear…it is a little crowded in here. I'll ask at the desk how
soon we will be called. It seems they are running late. So many families wanted the morning
appointments. No problem, we will sit and wait. What a cute family that one is…all in red with
reindeer antlers. Neat idea. Oh, and that precious family with 4 children and grandma and
grandpa too. It sure does take longer to situate so many people. The twins don't seem to be much
older than Kyle. Just as one looks at the cameraman, the other looks away. Then big brother and
sister try to pull each other's hair. It looks as if Grandpa is getting a bit testy. Well, that wasn't
much fun to watch. I'm glad my kids are better behaved than that.

This family only has two children…snap, snap. They should be done in no time. Come on..snap,
snap. Will you all sit down where the cameraman wants you to sit? This is ridiculous! Daughter
on father's lap, son on mom's lap; no…daughter on mom's lap, son on dad's lap; I want to get
up and arrange them myself.

Each family has a new set of problems…why didn't you all watch the other families? That way
you could figure this all out before you get to the camera! One after the other…wah, wah, wah. I
want to be near Freddy; no, I want to be near Freddy. What a hectic place this has turned out to

Where are my kids? Larry's reading the paper, Aaron is out on the sidewalk playing with his
matchbox cars, Emily is playing ring-around-the-rosy with 3 other girls and falling down all over
the place, and Kyle…? Where's Kyle? I left him on Larry's lap. I catch a glimpse of him
crawling at lightening speed under the chairs; the once white knees of his satin suit are almost
black. Whose kids are these?Okay, get them corralled and have a quick battle with Larry's eyes.
Oh, when will we be called? We have waited for 3 hours! No wonder the kids are running all
over the place.

Emily's beautiful ringlets are frizzy, and her beautiful bow has been lost. Aaron's shirt is
untucked and he has a hole in the knees of his brand new pants. They are calling our name. Yes,
we're here. Kyle is sleeping, Emily can't keep her eyes open, Aaron is whiny…let's go home and
bake cookies.

Maybe Aunt Tilly will bring her camera on Christmas Day.

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This article has been read 464 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick10/30/08
Haaaaaaa! This tickled me so, it is so realistic and down to earth. Very well writen humorous piece! Love the details and how the Narrator thinks to herself about everyone else's family member and complains about the camera person's lack of being observant to the obvious.:0) Then, the M.C. faces reality with her own troop-way too funny!!. We have waited for hours as well at photographers. I can remember so clearly what started as a joyful moment, with us ready to present ourselves in our best attire and sparkling images, often turned out to be a little less than picture perfect.:0) Great piece!!