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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Rigid Putty
By Dena Wilson


Mr. McPutty is a man of routine. Every Saturday night he trims his graying beard, polishes his shoes to a high gloss shine, and lays out his black suit for church on Sunday. He awakes before the alarm sounds, showers, dresses, and eats his breakfast of toast and poached egg. He leaves exactly at 9:37 to reach his seat on the third row, first chair on the left. He marches through the doors and down the aisle his shoes clipping out a steady cadence. His timing is accurate for he reaches his destination as the first note rings out from the choir. Ramrod straight he sits in his chair, his mind centered on God. Only one thing distracts him during this religious ceremony, Ms. Ridges. Out of the peripherals of his eyes he notices next to him the middle aged lady.

Her clothes don’t match, and she transfers germs with all her touching and hugging. The way she praises God is a definite sign that she has not been saved all her life and her worship should be outlawed from church. Severing God is to be a solemn, serious matter. What would serving God with such a soft pliable heart be like?

Ms. Ridges is a woman full of life. Every Saturday night she falls into bed exhausted from filling her day with adventure or service. After catching her flying alarm clock Ms. Ridges throws open her closet door searching for the cheeriest outfit she could find. Today she chose a bright yellow skirt and a peasant shirt with hot pink flowers. Dashing out the door, a cold slice of pizza in one hand, she straddles her bicycle and begins making her way to church. Reaching the coffee shop she jumps off the bike, gives her last bite of pizza to the neighborhood alley cat, and glides inside to purchase two coffees and a muffin. Back on her bike she carefully balances her load and continues on feeling the pressure of time. She cuts through the front yard of Widow Reed’s. Dropping her bike on the ground she trips up the steps. Mrs. Reed’s arthritic knees twinge as she stands to accept Ms. Ridge’s warm welcome hug, the muffin, and a cup of coffee. After a quick kiss on the check and the promise to return with the sermon on tape, Ms. Ridges is back on her travels.

Bumping through the church parking lot with an exurbanite smile, she hands the parking attendant her last cup of coffee. Scurrying inside, Ms. Ridges dances down the aisle to her seat in the third row, second chair on the left. Between affectionate smiles and warmhearted hugs, she turns members away from the seat next to hers. She hears Mr. McPutty’s rhythmic click of his heels.

I wonder if behind that rigid, hard stance he really does know the Lord.

Six Months later

Mr. McPutty polished shoes clips out a cadence. His eyes were focused straight in front of him and his mind is lined up with the Lord. He turns sharply to reach his seat and finds it occupied. Outrage fills his mind causing him to lose all focus. He glares over at Ms. Ridges to find someone else in her place. By now the choir is singing and he feels off kilter. His steps were out of rhythm as he retreats up the aisle. He thinks of leaving, but then Ms. Ridges enters his thoughts. He slips into the last row of chairs and slumps into a seat flustered. His eyes scan the crowd, no bright mismatched clothes could be found. He straightens his posture and brushes out the crease in his dress slacks. By the end of service he feels his entire world is tilted. He had no one to hug today, no one to repeat lines to, or no one jabbing him or slapping him when Pastor made an exceptional point.

Following Sunday

Ms. Ridges hears the rhythmic shoes of Mr. McPutty clipping toward her, she glances at the clock.

“Mr. McPutty, you are five minutes early today.”

“Ms. Ridges you missed last Sunday”

“My clock didn’t fly.”

Giving her a puzzled look he presses on. “I noticed last Sunday I am lacking an important item in my walk with God. Could you join me for lunch? I believe you could teach me to be more pliable like putty.”

“I will join you if you teach me how to blend my softness with a touch your rigidness.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Lou Cook05/01/09
What a sweet romance story. I hope for Mr. McPutty and Ms. Ridges this develops into a serious relationship. God does work in mysterious ways.
Rachel Burkum05/05/09
A cute tale with meanings for us all.
Deborah Porter 05/07/09
Hi Dena. I just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, Rigid Putty, actually did very well in the Hard and Soft Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 11th in that Level. There were a lot of entries this week, and 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.
Again, well done. :-)

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)