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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Barbeque/Cookout (09/06/12)

TITLE: Another Chance
By Kathy Kinzig


Drivers carefully navigated their way around the horseshoe shaped, well-worn narrow dirt path that accessed the log cabins overlooking the lake. Saturday was move-in day for the vacationers. Cars pulled into the resort with luggage and fishing poles piled on the roofs.

“Mommy, look at the lake!” Billy called out as he threw open the car door and ran down to the sandy beach.

He immediately ran back saying, “Mommy, can I get in the water?”

“Honey, you’re going to have to wait until we unpack your swim suit,” she said tousling his curly red hair while opening the trunk.

Jenny and Billy came on vacation hoping to get some much needed relaxation and time together, something a single, working mother carrying a full load of college classes doesn’t get much of. She had last been to the lake as a child with her own parents, and she wanted to bring Billy to one of her favorite vacation spots.

As Jenny unpacked, there was a knock on the door. “Hi Jenny,” Mrs. Koerner, the owner, said as she opened the door. “I wanted to stop by and make sure everything was to your satisfaction.”

“Everything is perfect,” Jenny replied. “Billy is so excited to get in the lake.”

“Just like you, Jenny, when you were his age. What is he, about five or six?”

“He’s five-and-a-half, she said smiling at her little man.”

“Well, I’ll let you get unpacked. By the way, we still have our Sunday night BBQ so all of our guests can meet. My husband, Hank, and I provide the hot dogs, hamburgers and buns. Just bring a covered dish by around 5 o’clock tomorrow night,” Mrs. Koerner said as she let herself out of the cabin. “By the way, Hank’s nephew is here from Virginia. I’d like you to meet him.”

“Sounds great. We’ll definitely be there.”

On Sunday Billy never left the water as he had found some friends his own age to play with. Jenny enjoyed the quiet time soaking up the sun.

She could smell Hank firing up the grill. She had to coax Billy out of the water by promising him a hot dog for supper. With that he ran up the sandy beach leaving a spray of water and sand behind him as he beat Jenny to the cabin.

“Billy, we need to change clothes for dinner. I’ve laid your clothes on the bed.” With blue lips quivering from the cold swim suit, he ran to his room to change clothes.

Jenny slipped on a sun dress and unplugged the crock pot of baked beans.

“Billy, can you open the screen door for me please?” she asked as they headed to the area marked off for the barbeque.

“Mommy, your beans are the best,” he said smiling up at Jenny as he opened the door.

Picnic tables were lined up, and smoke from the grills filled the air with a wonderful aroma. Setting the beans on the serving table, Jenny and Billy stood in line with plates in hand. Jenny noticed a man with curly red hair surrounding a baseball cap working the grills with Hank.

As the line moved forward, Billy began dancing around. “Mommy, can I have two hot dogs?”

“Well, let’s see if you are still hungry after you eat everything on your plate,” Jenny replied.

As they approached the grill, Billy went up to the man working with Hank to get a hot dog. Hank looked up and welcomed her and said, “Jenny, have you met my nephew, Jason, yet?”

She looked at the man with the curly red hair in the ball cap. She froze as he looked at her. There was immediate recognition for both of them. Finally, Billy said, “Mommy, I’m hungry,” as he impatiently tugged on her arm.

Billy’s question brought Jason back to the moment. He looked at Billy, then back at Jenny and said, “Mommy?” questioningly.

“Yes, this is my son, Billy,” she said awkwardly. Jason and Billy’s features were identical—curly red hair, cleft chin, freckles, brown eyes and even a tiny mole on the upper lip. Jason had clearly noticed the similarity and was doing the math. It had been six years that he had last seen Jenny. They had been young--Spring break their senior year. Another beach. Another life. Promises made and forgotten. Now two very different people and a chance for a new beginning—a chance to do it God’s way.

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This article has been read 365 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/13/12
I really enjoyed this piece. You did a nice job of building the characters.

The only thing I might suggest would be to start off with an attention grabber. Something like getting lost or having her stomach plunge as she laid her eyes on the familiar sight.

I did like the ending. You gave some subtle clues that normally I'd pick up on but this time I missed them and was delighted by the twist! You covered the topic in a different way. I also liked your ending. Life isn't tied up neatly into perfect bows and your ending leaves the reader anticipating what will happen. I loved the line a chance to do it God's way. It gives the reader a glimpse of what will happen next but it's not written in stone. I became a mom at the tender age of 18 and can so relate to your MC. I often wished I could start over and do it the right way, though your phrase God's way is even better than my right way. This was a great read.
C D Swanson 09/13/12
Oh this was a sheer delight. I didn't see the ending coming at all! I was completely surprised. This was a wonderful entry and I truly enjoyed it.

God bless~
Marie Hearty 09/13/12
I LOVED this story. You worked up to the ending very well and it was such a nice surprise. Just make sure that you always speak from the main characters point a view (I used to struggle with this as well).

Great work and may God bless you.
C D Swanson 09/20/12
Congratulations! God Bless~
Bea Edwards 09/21/12
Congratulations on your first place entry. It was an enjoyable read with a superbly crafted ending!