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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: Silly Spaghetti
By Sharon Laughter


“I never said nothin’ like that.” Arthur’s back arched over the large pot on the stove as he stirred methodically. The perpetual cowlick on top of his head slightly waved.

“Yes, you did! You said that you learned to make spaghetti in Sicily during the war!” Laney blurted, her blue eyes flashing like sparklers. She must jog her father’s failing memory. Her chin jutted out in challenge and her natural brown curls bobbed as if a separate cheering section.

“Your grandmother taught me to make spaghetti”, Arthur drawled, scraping the sides of the pan while slowing the ladle. He was owner of one of the largest construction companies in the state, but when he stood at the stove in his apron, he was really the boss.

The tantalizing aroma from the kitchen wafted towards Laney as she hung over the back of the couch in the living room. She had watched him prepare the spaghetti often in her twenty years. The sauce, made from a pile of fresh ingredients, would take all day and simmered for hours. In the afternoon, her father formed a ground beef mixture into meatballs, placing them carefully on a pan next to long links of Italian sausage to bake. The meal was reserved for special Saturdays, when God was particularly in the mood to bless.

“They don’t make spaghetti like this in Sicily,” her father continued, his Southern accent becoming more pronounced. He rapped the ladle several times against the pan before laying it in a saucer. “They just plop some ol’ tomato sauce on top of pasta.”

“What about Todd!” Lacy yelped, shifting to sweep her arm across the empty living room. He was too busy downstairs to help, destroying entire colonies of Nordic aliens with quick jabs of his thumbs. “Remember? He couldn’t pronounce Sicily and called it silly. That’s why we call it silly spaghetti!” Laney’s exasperation was ernest.

“They eat it just like we do bread and butter,” Arthur countered with finality. He bent over and disappeared from sight. Sounds of pans being shoved around in a cupboard mixed with his little grunts.

“NO!” Laney wailed inwardly as she slumped. The spaghetti was famous among all her childhood friends. If word of this got out, she would become a laughingstock forever. Too many times down through the years those invited to the special Anderson meal were also served a portion of history. After shoving full bellies away from the table and tromping downstairs to flop on overstuffed couches, they would always beg Lacy to recount the historic tale.

Lacy related how Arthur had served with the Third Infantry Division in Italy during World War II. Laney had seen his Purple Heart herself. She described him trudging the green rolling hills of Sicily, waging war with pockets of Germans in the rural country, probably almost single handedly. Along the way, grateful peasants endowed the soldier with generous portions of hospitality. One of the most treasured, was the very old and very secret recipe for their spaghetti. After the war, he was to cook it for his future family and remember the thankful Italians. The spaghetti was worthy of only such a legend, no disrespect to her grandmother.

Laney had never met her father’s mother who had died when he was only twelve. But Erel Anderson’s black and white portrait hung on her parent’s bedroom wall and often captured Laney’s gaze. The woman had cropped hair, the color of coal, which framed her chiseled features. Erel was full blooded Native American and wore the same stern expression contained on the faces of great Indian chiefs Laney had seen pictured in history books.

No one would believe that this woman created the best Italian meal in America by herself. And also, who would believe that Italians would drop watery tomato sauce on pasta and give it no more honor than a cracker?

Maybe it was a joke. Because of her Dad’s kidding, Laney had in fact believed for years that hummingbirds spun cocoons. He was getting up there in age too, maybe fifty or so. Then what about the bomb that exploded behind him during the war? Perhaps he was traumatized and was starting to show signs of soldier’s syndrome or something. Well, no matter. From now on she had better watch him very closely and record the recipe for herself. Otherwise, the silly spaghetti legend might not be the only thing in danger.

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This article has been read 593 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst03/02/09
Creatively told story. Good job!
chale wesson03/03/09
wow that was halarious!!!! maybe fifty or so!!!!!!!
this calls for barbaras laugh---AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-HAhhaaaahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaha
Gary J. Borgstede03/04/09
Easy on the Italians...my grandfather is FBI...Full Blooded Italian...and his recipe for meatballs and spaghetti came from the secret family recipe book straight from Sicily. At least that's what I've been told... :):)

Kidding aside, although my grandfather really is a full blooded Italian who actually served in the Infantry in WWII, the story was very enjoyable to read. Growing up with an Italian heritage, I know well the tantalizing aroma of simmering home cooked meatballs and spaghetti that you described so well.
Anita van der Elst03/05/09
Sharon, I tried to respond to the private message you left for me but the email did not go thru. Just wanted to say I'm glad you were encouraged! That in turn encourages me. :-)
Deborah Porter 03/05/09
Hi Sharon. Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, "Silly Spaghetti," actually did very well in the Europe Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 10th in that Level. Competition in Level 1 is always very intense, so well done.

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

You definitely deserve a pat on the back. Well done. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Laura Manley06/16/09
Sharon: This is simply a delightful story. The title enticed me; the content kept me here. I like the way you have not forced your dialogue from the present to the explanation of "silly spaghetti." There was only a couple of things I noticed that needed to be checked by you. One is where you have used a quotation mark inside the comma or period and the other is where you seem to have an word that is unnecessary. I'm sorry I could not find it again before I started my review. If all your articles are as enjoyable as this one, I believe you will be published one day. Laura