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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)

TITLE: I Will Not Go Quietly
By Matt Zink


I will not go quietly.

I have heard the cliché a thousand times. Now I am seventy-four and it means something.

Frank and Margaret bought a bungalow and retired on the coast. Every morning, they get up with the sun and walk the beach in search of shells. Every morning, the waves wash their footprints into the sea. Frank cooks breakfast, and Margaret lunch and they always go out for dinner. In between, they talk, paint, write and admire their wonderful collection of shells.

James retired after his wife passed. Three years later, he decided to sell everything and move into a retirement home. His children visited every week for a while, then once a month. Last time I spoke with him, he had not seen them in six months. He did buy a Hoveround®, said he’d walked enough in his lifetime and Medicare covered the cost. Now he putters along the trails on the facility grounds. He enjoys the water fountain in the garden and recalls the good old days with his wife.

William doesn’t believe in retirement. We agree on that much. He is my oldest friend. He works every day as if he were twenty-five. Still paying his dues, he says, the young generation doesn’t respect the old. His wife Susan waits at home for him, knitting and reading, then prepares dinner as she has for the past forty-eight years. He comes home, thanks her for the meal and they talk into the evening. He golfs every weekend. I imagine that William just won’t come home one day, but dinner will be ready and Susan will converse with his memory.

As I look out the door of the plane, tethered to my jumping partner, all of these things flash through my mind. The wind presses the goggles tight against my face. Words are shouted and disappear into the rumble of the engine and the rush of the air. We move closer to the threshold. I give the thumbs up, so does my partner. I’m old, not stupid, and now jump tandem. We leap into the clouds.

The Amazon basin opens up below us. Fingers of the great river stretch for a thousand miles. I spot the clearing and the blue smoke. My missionary son, his wife and kids, and the tribe all point and wave at us as we descend through the void.

My son said I was crazy to join him here, no place for an old man. Why didn’t I just go work with William? And I told him.

I have twenty years to add to my life. I will not have my footsteps washed into the sea. I am not a keeper of seashells or a watcher of fountains. There is no top rung on the corporate ladder, and my handicap is my golf game.

I will not go quietly.

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This article has been read 614 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart07/12/09
What a great story and the end made me smile. Love it!
Patricia Turner07/13/09
I like your MC's idea - don't go quietly into the night. A very nice piece of writing.
Noel Mitaxa 07/14/09
I love it! Suddenly we were up there with you, ready for a new scenario of energy and anticipating serving God in new ways. Gravity-defying stuff, in more ways than one!
Edmond Ng 07/15/09
A very nice read, reminding me of Caleb who at the age of 85 was able to say he is as strong as he was 45 years ago (Joshua 14:10-11). I can visualize the energy bursting out from the MC in your story!
Ifeoma Dennis07/15/09
I envy your writing style!
Thumbs up.
Charla Diehl 07/16/09
Wow--I loved the attitude of your MC. This was enlightening, fun, entertaining and creative--so it's easy to see why you placed 2nd with this story. Congratulations!
Graham Starling07/16/09
This is how I want to go. It's also how I want to write. Very nice piece, just right in all respects.
Deborah Porter 07/18/09
Congratulations on your win, Matt. Not only 2nd Place in Level 1, but you also made it into the highest rankings, placing 30th overall. An excellent result for a Level 1 entrant.

Time to move up to Level 2 now.

If you would like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can see them here:


Keep up the great writing. Deb (Challenge Coordinator)