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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)

TITLE: Together At Last
By Vicki J. Cypcar


The church was still empty when Alfred Murdock approached the coffin to gaze at his one and only love for the last time. Later, as people ushered in he sat in the front pew and recollected his younger days. He remembered the first time he had seen Megan O’Brian sitting in church with her grandparents. He remembered thinking her braids were the same color as Mr. Murphy’s Irish setter. For a Kansas farm boy an Irish beauty like Megan was a rare find – like a jewel. From her first day in the fifth grade Alfred insisted on carrying her books. They enjoyed seasons of fishing and swimming at Hershel’s pond and climbing trees. In particular the massive oak tree that stood in the center of St. Gregory’s cemetery. Megan was passionate about life and was a deep thinker about things. Alfred remembered the necklace she wore around her neck. It was a sterling silver clover or ‘Shamrock’ as Megan called it. Megan enjoyed sharing the folklore of her Celtic heritage with Alfred. With her sweet Irish accent she described the necklace as a symbol of the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Alfred loved Kansas and farming -he had soil in his veins – farming was his heritage. He would daydream about how he and Megan would marry someday and have a farmhouse full of red-haired children. He took Megan to see The Wizard of Oz to convince her that there was no place like home -or Kansas for that matter. But Megan dreamed of going back to Ireland, she complained that Kansas was too colorless and flat. In fact, she said the Emerald city in The Wizard of Oz made her downright homesick. To Megan O’Brian, Kansas would never be home.

Alfred’s heart broke when Megan left the day after high school graduation to go back to Ireland. Before boarding the plane she reached down into her pocket and pulled out a lock of her hair. She had braided three strands tightly, explaining how it signified the two of them and the love they would always share. Then she promised Alfred that someday she would return. She kissed him on the cheek before boarding, her wavy red hair shining like silk.

Alfred never married; he worked his farm until his stroke in 1983. The postman had discovered Alfred laying out in front of his barn with Mollie his Irish setter lying next to him. Alfred’s hand was frozen closed. At the hospital they were able to pry it open, at which time they found the threefold cord of hair and placed it with his other belongings. Alfred never regained use of his right side after that. Friends from church were kind enough to renovate his farmhouse with wheelchair ramps; but a crippled farmer is a bankrupt farmer. In 1985 he sold his farm and moved into an apartment with his loyal companion Mollie.

Upon hearing the news of Megan’s death he found it comforting that although she had never returned she had purchased the cemetery plot beneath the massive oak tree right next to his. Alfred fondly remembered the two of them sneaking into the cemetery one night so he could engrave their initials into the bark. He remembered their first kiss beneath it.

Alfred’s body was tired and worn. And now - just knowing that Megan was no longer alive, the world seemed empty and joyless. Megan’s sister Francis sat down next to Alfred In the pew and whispered, “You know- she never stopped loving you Alfred, and she wanted you to have this. “ Francis gently placed Megan’s pendent in Alfred’s hand and smiled.

As the organist began playing Amazing Grace, Alfred brought the pendent his lips and wept.

Just three days later, Alfred Murdock went to bed and peacefully passed into eternity.

As the weeks went by Mollie could be found lying next to the snow-covered grave of Alfred Murdock. This had become a daily ritual for his beloved pet. Pastor Tate would coax Mollie inside each night for dinner, but she would return to her vigil after eating.

It wasn’t until St. Patrick’s Day that Pastor Tate went to retrieve Mollie and noticed a carving in the old oak tree - It read: Alfred and Megan - together at last.

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This article has been read 382 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/19/12
This is a sweet love story. I enjoyed it and could relate to the MC and his longing for his sweetheart.

You have a few minor things to fix like missing commas for example with phrases like In particular and for a Kansas farm boy, could both use a comma. You may also want to make the opening paragraph into two or three smaller ones to not overwhelm the reader.

All in all, you wrote a charming romance. You managed to capture the topic in her braid, as well as in the love they shared. The ending was great. I like the mysterious way you left it open ended. Nicely done.

pam Leitermann04/21/12
I was captured from the start to the end the dog was a plus I enjoyed it.
Genia Gilbert04/22/12
This was a creative approach to the topic. You held my interest all the way through, and I enjoyed your entry.
Patsy Hallum04/22/12
Makes me wonder if we would all be better off if we only had one love in the world and one God to love in spirit. Great story.
PamFord Davis 04/23/12
I will not be a bit surprised if this shows up in the winners circle! I'm very impressed at your descriptive wording and story line. In short, this was a masterpiece!

Wing His Words!
Dannie Hawley 04/24/12
Lovely story that tugs at the heart, just as you had wanted. Well done.
E.J. Swanson04/24/12
Absolutely wonderful story! Makes me feel as though you knew the subject very well. Keep writing...you have a gift.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/26/12
Congratulations for placing 12th in level one!