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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)

TITLE: For Never Young
By Ada Nett


Sadie squatted down and filled her hand with earth while holding baby Maggie on her hip. She stood up slowly to keep from losing her balance. Sadie wasn’t crying . Her face held no sign of grief. Instead there was a determined set to her jaw as she slowly left the dirt flow through her fingers onto the wooden coffin in the grave in front of her.

Sadie’s Pa didn’t care ‘bout nobody but his own self. Mostly that was why mama was in an early grave and why eleven year old Sadie had never had a childhood. Pa was here today but he was drinking again and Sadie knew he would be gone in the morning. Once he got started drinking he’d stumble off and be gone for weeks.

Standing across the grave from Sadie was Jeb. He was nine. He was trying hard not to cry. Jeb had helped Sadie bring the little ones up the hillside for mama’s burying. Sadie didn‘t know where Pa had got the box.. It really wasn’t even a coffin. She didn’t know what had come in it but it was big enough for mama’s body and Sadie’d used lye soap and scrubbed it real clean. She lined it with the quilt off mama’s bed before she let Pa lay mama in there. Pa nailed the top shut then he had the mule drag the box up the hill. Pa made Jeb and his brother Ezra who was seven help him dig the grave. Jeb said Pa mostly just set under the tree with a jug while he and Ezra dug the hole to bury mama in.

Five year old Lyddie was sobbing. She clung to Sadie’s skirt and would not let go. Jeb and Ezra took shovels and begin to throw dirt on the box. Pa stumbled over like he was going to help . Next thing they knew Pa’d tripped and fell right in the grave on the top of mama’s box. He began cussing and swearing at mama like she’d been the one to push him in there. Mama couldn’t ever do anything right, he said, even after she was dead.

Sadie backed away from the grave. She still had Maggie balanced on her hip and Lyddie clinging to her skirt tail. With her free hand she took three year old Matthew by the hand and began walking back down the hill. She was worried about Matthew. He had sat himself down under a tree at mama’s grave and had not moved or said a word. Truth was Sadie had not heard him say anything since mama had died. He had a lost look in his eyes that frightened Sadie.

Maggie fell asleep on Sadie’s should as they walked the path back down to the little cabin they called home. Lyddie’s sobs had quieted into hiccups by the time Sadie stepped in the door of their house. Matthew let go of her hand and went and sat in a dark corner. Sadie laid little Maggie down on the pallet on the floor beside the bed that had been mama’s. She turned and reached down and picked up Lyddie and went and sat in mama’s rocker. The setting sun cast a shadow on the wall as Sadie rocked Lyddie to sleep. She couldn’t hear a sound from Matthew but she knew he was still just sitting there in the corner.

Sadie woke up to the sound of shouting in the yard. Pa was yelling for Jeb to put the mule in the barn. Ezra came in and shut the door. It was almost dark in the cabin and it was starting to get cold. Ezra had a handful of sticks and he laid them in the fireplace. Jeb came in and shut the door behind him. Sadie looked at him with a question in her eyes. “Pa left,” Jeb said. Sadie felt relieved.

Late that night while everyone was sleeping, Sadie slipped from the cabin and made her way back up the hill to mama’s grave. As she sat on the cold ground she felt tears welling up. She blinked real hard and shoved them back down inside her heart. It wasn’t the years in Sadie’s life that grew her up before she was a child. It was the life in her years. Sadie sat beside mama’s grave till dawn began to break. Wearily she stood back up and trudged down the hill she had a family to take care of.…

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This article has been read 676 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dan Blankenship 08/06/09
Wow...very good! Solid and interesting work!

May God bless and keep you typing.

Dan Blankenship
Jackie Wilson08/06/09
Your story made me feel that I was right there with Sadie! Very touching story.
Gregory Kane08/07/09
Well narrated. I particularly liked the way you represented the father
Seema Bagai 08/08/09
You created a vivid scene in this piece. Excellent writing.
Connie Dixon08/10/09
It wasn’t the years in her life but the life in her years...." Great story, keep up the good work! I loved the title.
Helen Dowd08/10/09
I think the title of this story is just RIGHT! What a sad story. I loved this line: "It wasn’t the years in Sadie’s life that grew her up before she was a child. It was the life in her years." How very true for Sadie...I know you can't edit this story for the challenge, but I think if you use it elsewhere, it would be just perfect if you could use the kind-of "back-hill" type language all the way through the story. It would be so fitting...And, by the way, if this story is any indication, you shouldn't be in the BEGINNER category for long. Just a few minor grammatical slip-ups--easily fixed, would make this story not GOOD, but EXCELLENT...Helen
Mariane Holbrook 08/11/09
What a great title for this piece! Your entry was well-written, carefully and skillfully wrapped up and left me feeling that I'd just read something well worth my time! Kudos, friend!
Mona Purvis08/11/09
This story was written with skill. I found it to be interesting and tugging at emotions. I love the MC. So sad that many have had to shoulder adult responsibilities at such an early age.
Keep writing.

Maria Kana Santos08/11/09
Very moving story. It touched the core of my spirit for young Sadie and for little ones under her care. Excellent writing.

May God increase you more in your writing for His glory.

In our Saviour's service and grace, Maryknoll
Catrina Bradley 08/11/09
Emotion packed. Some very vivid scenes, like the father falling in the grave. I love how you approached the topic. I look forward to reading more of your work!
Lisa Johnson08/12/09
Will look forward to seeing how this does...it is a very well written entry. The story was very vivid. It was not hard to imagine the scene at all. The situation was very believable, and your MC very touching.
Loren T. Lowery08/12/09
Absolutely beautiful, astounding writing. The voice of Sadie is hauntingly childlike, but wizened beyond her years in a very believable way. For some reason, I couldn't get the image of Loretta Lynn telling this story.
There are so many parts to this article's imagery that I liked, but one piece that truly spoke to me was when the quilt was laid in the mother's coffin. This spoke volumes. And, as a side note, I believe the mom did come back and push the ole coot into the grave : ) I'm betting this will place this week and I'm expecting you to move up quickly.
Sara Harricharan 08/12/09
Wow. Poor Sadie! Such a wonderfully written character, yet my heart aches to think of her and all that she will do to keep her little family together. LOL-I bet the Mom did kick that guy in there, he SO deserved it. Nice job!
Bryan Rudolph08/12/09
Apart from an arguably weak satisfaction of the topic, the content and delivery was as masterful as any writing submitted, regardless of level. You adeptly held my inclined-to-wander mind, I was mesmerized by the characters, setting, mood, and intentions. And, oh, yes, that title: brilliant! I can hardly wait for your next entry. Bryan. 12Aug09Wed.
Loren T. Lowery08/13/09
I knew this would do well. Congratulations and I look forward to reading more of your work! Loren
Lisa Johnson08/13/09
Congratulations on your second place win. I knew when I read your story that it would do well. Keep up the good work.
Ada Nett08/13/09
I am overwhelmed by your positive responses and by actually placing in the competition. Thank you all for your encouragement.
Dianna Schnabel08/14/09
Congratulations on moving up to Level II!