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

TITLE: A Humdinger of a Cookout
By Deborah Sampson


Taylor’s family was having their first cookout in two years, her mother and father had invited the family, friends and neighbors.

Dad said today that they could expect around seventy-five people to come. Mom was already planning the menu. She would be cooking and baking a couple of days straight. She knew her mom missed this; they usually had two or three cookouts a season.

Leann, her older sister by two years, would be here to help, she was home from college and always enjoyed helping.

Jonathan, her big brother was four years older than her, and would be here for two weeks before heading back to work on his degree.

It would be good to have everyone home, well almost everyone, William left home two years ago, he couldn’t seem to find himself he said, where he fit into the scheme of things, and he left suddenly and without a word thus far.

Taylor would start her last year of high school in three weeks, where had time gone?

There was a knock at the front door. Taylor scrambled from the recliner she was sitting in. She opened the door, there stood Pastor Mike Strong.

“Hi, Pastor Mike. Come in. Mom and Dad are in the kitchen, go on in.”

“Thanks, Taylor, are they working on this big cookout?” He asked. “How are they doing?”

“I think they are trying to get on with their lives, it’s been hard since Will left.” The prayers of our church family sure helped us in all of this.”

“Good, I’ll just go on out.”


With the cookout just a day away, a lot of activity was taking place. Dad and Jonathan had gotten the backyard mowed and trimmed; they also sprayed for the pesky bugs.

They strung some clear lights along the deck railing and out into the yard. They had borrowed a few tables and chairs from the church. Mom and Leann had put yellow or blue table covers on each one. The center pieces were small potted daisies.

With the back yard done, mom went back into the kitchen to resume fixing more delights for tomorrow. She already had the potato and the pea salad done. She was baking a ham to be sliced for sandwiches. Hot dogs, burgers, and brats awaited the grill, and would be sizzling over the fire tomorrow.

There were apple pies, cream pies, cookies, and brownies along with jello salad. Leann was finishing up the cheese and vegetable platters.

Leann’s current job was to get the glasses down, and plates they used for cookouts, plus the silverware. She searched for the extra bowls they used. It was all coming together they were ready.

In just two hours the party would begin. They were all out back when the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it.”Taylor headed for the front door, who could be coming so early? Opening the door the look on Taylor’s face must have said it all. “William, Will, is that really you?” Her mouth hung open at the sight of her oldest brother standing there.

“Where have you been?” She demanded.

“It’s a long story, but I am home now, where is everybody?” He smiled at his youngest sister.

“Will, do you know the hurt and damaged you did to this family by leaving and not telling anyone where you were at? We had no contact with you in all this time, Mom and dad, finally gave up searching, and assumed you might be dead. “Oh Will.” Taylor blinked back the tears.

“I have no plans on hurting any of you again, in my travels there never was a place I could call my home. I lived with the homeless most of my time away, so I couldn’t contact you, but I do have a surprise for all of you.” He said as he heard his father’s voice.

“Who is it, Taylor?” Dad smiled as he entered the room. "Oh my Gracious, Will, it’s you, son, everyone come here, quickly, look who is here!" Hugs and tears flowed from everyone. The long lost son had come home.

“For the last year, I worked in a mission as their Pastor, Yes me, I officially became a Pastor six months ago, I found what I was looking for. All the time God was the answer.”
Excitement filled the air, questions could wait, this would be a time for great rejoicing, and this would be a humdinger of a cookout.

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This article has been read 227 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 09/13/12
I love how you told us and showed us the MC's emotions. Loved the ending and the realization of the MC. Great job. Thanks.

God bless~
Marie Hearty 09/13/12
As I was reading your story, I couldn't help but get hungry with the good description of all the food. Also, very good ending... I liked how you turned what could have been a tragedy into something great.

Good work and God bless you.