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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sweet to the Taste (08/23/12)

TITLE: A Sweet Solution
By Tendi Rice
08/30/12


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The bus came to a halt once again and I watched impatiently as an elderly lady made her way in. The driver waited for her to find a seat and despite the two empty seats right at the front, she strolled towards two empty seats halfway down the aisle before getting seated.

Just as we set off, I crossed my fingers, secretly hoping we would not stop again before I had to hop off, but before I could even finish making my Prayer, we pulled off the road at the next bus stop. As more passengers hopped onto the bus, I tapped my foot, still glancing at my watch every two seconds, hoping we would not be stopped for much longer.

When we finally got to my stop, I grabbed my backpack and my mini suitcase then ran as fast as my legs could carry me towards the train station. As I approached the entrance, I nearly smashed into the automatic doors, which had not yet opened. A lady pushing a buggy was blocking the corridor and I squeezed passed her, forgetting to excuse myself as I hurried past. I was now panting for breath, half jogging and partly walking as I neared the train door. Just then I saw the conductor signaling the driver to close the doors and depart and I used what little strength I still had in me to move faster so I would make it. Just as I was about to take the leap that would get my front foot into the train, the train doors closed shut right in my face. I tried to force them apart, but then the train started to move, assuring me I had missed this train.

I glanced at my watch for the first time in the past ten minutes to confirm what I already knew. This was the last train I could catch if I was going to make it for my flight. I watched the tracks, horrified that I had missed my plane. I decided to head back home, figuring that there was no point in me getting to the airport since that was the last fight to Pensacola today. Disappointed and hurt, I felt tears trickling down my face. I started walking the nine miles to my house, too distraught to take the bus.

I only realized it was after dark as I was approached my front door and only then did I remember to call my sister Stella to advice her not to wait for me by the airport. I took my mobile out of my pocket and checked the time to make sure she was not already awaiting my arrival at the terminal. She probably had not left home so I decided to call the house phone so I would speak to everyone and tell them I would not make it for thanksgiving dinner this year. I shuddered at the thought of how they would react when they heard. It went unsaid, but with my grandmother’s ill-health, it was probably her last and it would have meant the world to her to have us all at her farmhouse tonight. I had told them it would be difficult for me to catch my flight since I had to be by my wife’s hospital bedside after her surgery before leaving. The procedure had run late and now here I was, with almost nothing to be thankful for.

I was dialing the number as I walked through the front door and suddenly I heard everybody yelling, “Happy thanksgiving!” Surprised to see my entire family gathered around my dinner table, including my granny, I could not help but let out a huge sigh, even as the tears continued to stream down my face. “We knew you would not make it,” Stella answered my question before I could ask, “So we thought we would give you a pretty sweet solution, we brought thanksgiving to you.”

The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey [Exodus 16:31] Even in the dessert, amidst an impossible situation, God provided a sweet solution for His children.


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Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 08/31/12
Awww I loved the ending of this sweet entry. Nicely done, good message and well written. God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/31/12
I enjoyed your story. The fast pace seemed to match the urgency. I did cringe a bit at the rudeness of shoving past a mom struggling to get the stroller through the door. But it is so typical and I loved that you included it. It seems like today many people only have a me mentality and this picture you painted will hopefully allow some people to see themselves in it. I like stories that have more than one message and yours did have that, for sure.

Probably your two weakest judging criteria will be topic and the ending. The topic is sweet to the taste and while it is sweet to spend time with your family, it might be a stretch for some. The ending seems a bit unlikely, though personally, I enjoy unlikely endings. I did chuckle as I pictured what would have happened had the MC caught his flight and pictured him standing in front of an empty farmhouse! (Oh and a good trick to remember the different between dessert (food) and desert (sand) is everyone wants 2 servings of dessert so there are 2 s's but only one of desert):)

You have a fantastic imagination and you did an outstanding job of making the reader feel caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I can't imagine walking 9 miles in the dark, but I felt the MC's grief as you described the long, sad walk home. You have a lot of good things packed into this intriguing story. You are definitely a gifted storyteller. Good job.