Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
TITLE: Bud and Ms. Rose
By Renee Polson
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Like the runt he was, Bud would spend his days alone with only a few grunts from his mother or his “litter-mates”. Most of his daily conversations were something like this:
“I said, ‘Git here!’”
“Oh, you stupid fool.”
Ms. Rose had daily conversations that were like this:
“Students, do you understand that without good grammar, communication is nearly impossible?”
“And do you agree that other people consider your use of correct grammar as a mark of your intelligence and character?”
“Very well then. Let us continue our lessons.”
The tracks of Bud and Rose’s lives continued in much this same way for many years. Bud lived in his mono-syllable world and Ms. Rose thrived in the world of correct language usage. Bud was “socially-promoted” from grade to grade and Ms. Rose promoted the “gifted” into the world of the ivy league.
Until the year Bud became a senior and the school board decided to replace Ms. Rose with a distance learning class. Then the tracks twisted into a head-long collision on a cool September day…..
The Autumn leaves were falling off the trees as Ms. Rose sipped her last drop of coffee, took off her glasses, closed her Bible and lowered her head onto her folded hands.
“Please God let me be a blessing to the children you have placed in my class this year. I know God that this change in my life is part of your plan. I pray that you lead my actions and my words. Let me serve as an example of your love, grace and mercy. Please God let others see you through me.”
Bud scuffed through the golden leaves along the street and finally drudged up the steps of the school, down the hallway and into the classroom for remedial students. He stood by the door and listened to Ms. Rose’s prayer. His face turned all the shades of red when she looked up.
“Excuse me, young man, where are your manners?”
“Huh?” Bud looked quizzically toward Ms. Rose.
“Your answer, sir, should be ‘Excuse me, M’am.’ Do you understand me?”
“Huh?” Bud continued, wide-eyed.
Remembering her recent request to God for patience, Ms. Rose took a deep breath and began again. “What is your name, sir?”
“My name is Bud, M’am. Say it.” Ms. Rose gently prodded.
“My name is Bud, M’am.” Bud repeated, eyes downcast.
“Now sir, stand up straight, look your audience in the eye and remember that other people consider your use of correct grammar as a mark of your intelligence and character. Never forget that. Do you understand me?” Ms. Rose asked, expecting to hear ‘huh’ again, but instead Bud looked her straight in the eye and said,
And so God’s grander plan for the two lives unfolded. Rose’s years of language study were used to teach a nearly illiterate boy to speak and Bud’s life-long need for grace and mercy was found in his teacher, Ms. Rose.
As is so often the case in life, when the school year ended the tracks twisted apart again. Until a decade later….
The Autumn leaves were falling off the trees as Ms. Rose sipped her last drop of coffee, adjusted her glasses on her nose, closed her Bible and lowered her head onto her wrinkled hands.
“Thank you God for this day. You are my fortress and my refuge against the diseases of age. I ask you God to show your mercy. I ask you to protect me and shelter me as you promised.”
The orderly scuffed down the nursing home hallway and stood by the door to listen to Ms. Rose’s prayer.
“Excuse me, M’am. Do you know that people consider your use of prayer as a sign of your intelligence and character?”
“Huh?” Ms. Rose looked quizzically toward the orderly.
“Your answer, M’am, should be ‘Excuse me, sir.’” Bud smiled at Ms. Rose as he walked to take the handles of her wheelchair.
“Do you understand that it’s me, Ms. Rose? I’ll be here everyday to help care for you.”
Rose’s eyes filled with tears and she said, “Huh?”
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