Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: The Leaf Pile
By Mary Dreisbach
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Charlie had been Teddy's friend since they were in diapers; born only hours apart, they were inseparable. When Teddy reached Charlie's house, he jumped off his bike letting it fall to the ground. (Something his mother would surely disapprove of.) Leaping up the stairs two by two, he reached the front door. With his signature knock he rapped on the door. Da Da Dadada Da Da...nothing. Teddy knocked again, still nothing. Strange, Teddy thought, Charlie didn't tell him he was going anywhere. Disappointed, Teddy sat on the steps wondering where his friend could be.
Retrieving his bike, Teddy coasted down the hill, taking both hands off the handlebars as he picked up speed. He and Charlie just recently learned to master this daring feat. Teddy parked his bike in the garage (properly this time) and headed inside. Mom was in the kitchen preparing lunch. "Hey Mom, I just got back from Charlie's and no one's home. Do you know where they are?" Teddy's Mom motioned for him to come to her. She put her arm around Teddy's shoulder, he could see dried tear streaks on her usually smiling face. A big knot lodged itself in Teddy's throat.
“Teddy, there’s something I have to tell you.” Tears welling up in mom’s eyes made Teddy feel scared. The last time Mom started a talk with those words, it was to tell him that his Grandma had gone on to heaven to be with Jesus. “Mom? What is it? What’s going on?” Mom cleared her throat, “Teddy, last night when Charlie and his parents were driving home from visiting his Grandparents, their car skid on wet leaves and crashed into a tree. Teddy, Charlie didn’t make it. The paramedics tried their best but they couldn’t save Him. Charlie’s gone to be with Jesus.”
Teddy couldn’t think. Mom tried to hug him, but he shrugged her off. Horrified, Teddy headed for the back yard. There before him stood the leaf pile. His and Charlie’s leaf pile. The pile that held great expectations, big plans, a day of fun. Rage filled Teddy. He began kicking and throwing leaves all over the yard, until completely drained of all energy. Heart broken, Teddy looked around at the destruction of his masterpiece. Like the falling of a mighty tree at the hands of an axe, Teddy fell to the ground sobbing. His best buddy, gone forever. Life would never be the same.
That night, when mom came to tuck Teddy into bed, she knelt by his bedside. “Teddy, I know your hurting, I know your sad., but more importantly Jesus knows.” Teddy sighed. “Why did God have to take Charlie away?” “Well Teddy, we all have our time here on earth but this is not our real home, our real home is in heaven with Jesus. When each of us has completed the work God has for us, He brings us home.” Looking puzzled Teddy asked “So Charlie’s home? He’s happy?” Yes Teddy, I know its hard to understand, because we are going to miss seeing Charlie.” But God loves us very much and He will find ways to comfort us.” Mom hugged Teddy tight. “ I love you.” she whispered. “I love you too Mom, and Charlie.” “ I know honey, me too.”
Teddy said goodbye to Charlie that fall, but stayed close to Charlie’s parents, visiting them often. Somehow Teddy felt close to his friend when he was at their house. The year with out Charlie brought about many changes. The community came together to support Charlie’s family in their loss, Charlie’s parents drew closer to Jesus and shared their story helping others in their grief group, and towards the end of that first year, Charlie’s Mom discovered she was pregnant.
As for Teddy, every Fall when leaves tumble down, he heads for his back yard, rake in hand. When the pile is complete Teddy says a little prayer thanking God for his friend and takes off running for the waiting leaf pile.
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