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

TITLE: The Small Concrete Porch
By Gail Burks
09/12/12


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Loading up her shopping cart to the brim, Callie thought, “I hope I didn't forget anything.”

Quickly surveying the cart, filled with meats, pasta, breads, sauces, sodas, water, and the kids favorite – 7UP cake, Callie surmised that her budget for the month was blown by this one shopping trip. As she paid the cashier and bagged her own groceries, she again thought of what her Pastor said this past Sunday, that God will provide all of our needs, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus. Well, God will definitely provide for us.

That fact was confirmed because in the past few days, money was provided by her sister, the grill was given by her step-dad, and the card table with matching chairs was borrowed from the neighbor down the street.

As Callie pulled up to the set of row houses, she was thankful that her family could have a barbecue, even though the lawn had little grass. The neighbors didn't mind and the owner said it was fine. The small patch of grass, commingled with weeds, would have to suffice. Her 6 and 9 year old didn't care about the small two bedroom home and one TV. They just wanted to have fun and play badminton and horseshoes before school started back.

As she put up the groceries, her phone rang. It was Lisa, a childhood friend. They talked fairly often, but usually the conversation went something like this:

“Hey, Callie, how are you and the kids doing?”

“We're good, Lisa,..getting ready for a back to school cookout.”

“You too? We're having a backyard barbeque, too. Hey, you remember, John Thompson from 7th grade? He's a Senator now and is stopping by.”

“Yes, I remember John,” Callie said, wistfully. “Are your guests playing golf?” knowing their mansion included a nine-hole course.

“They might, although Tom always likes to take the guys to the home theater, and play video games, shoot pool ...what a bunch of big babies,” Lisa said, chuckling. “I wished you lived closer, then you and the kids could come, too.”

“I appreciate that, but I would have to find something to wear. I remember when you invited us to spend a couple of days at your house? Then, you bought me some outfits to wear, before your fashion designer friend stopped by.”

“Right...I sure did. Did you take those outfits home? Wow, that was – what – 6 years ago.? I remember, your little Donny had so much fun, playing on the swing set, swimming, riding the pony we rented.”

“Well, maybe the next time...but, send us pictures, will you?”

“Sure will...Oh, I forgot to mention Matt Clark is coming, you know-- from American Idol and that new action movie...forgot the title. His parents know my parents.....and he is stopping by with his girlfriend, Kate Lawson, you know the talk show host,” Lisa hurriedly exclaimed.

“Oh, yeah. I know who you are talking about, although we don't look at much TV.”

“Did you get a computer yet?”

Tiring of the questions, Callie ran her fingers through her limp, lifeless hair and said, “No, not yet. We go to the library and use theirs. Hopefully, next year, we'll get a laptop.”

“Sounds great.”

Anxious to get off the phone, Callie said, “Have a blessed time. Will it be covered in the news?”

“Yes, you're right...the Times is sending over a reporter – because we're also raising funds for the North River Women and Children's Fund.”

She always brings up these events, Callie thought to herself, feeling somewhat ashamed because this same charity helped their family in the past.

“Thanks again, and bye, Lisa.”

“Bye, let me know if you need anything.”

Sensing their mother's disposition, Callie's children ran over to hug her and said, “Hey, mom, we'll help you get everything ready for tomorrow. Can we invite our friends next door?”

“Sure, tell them about 2:00p.”

“Thanks, Mom. We love you,” scurrying outside to play on their small concrete porch.

Callie opened her bible to Psalms 37. After reading, she prayed, “Thank you, Lord, that I can delight myself in you and that you give me and my children the desires of our hearts. I will not fret or be afraid. I love you, in Jesus' name.”


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This article has been read 175 times
Member Comments
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Camille (C D) Swanson 09/13/12
This was a very good story! I enjoyed the entire piece. Good message, well-written and totally engrossing.

Nice job...God bless~
Marie Hearty 09/13/12
I could identify with the main character as her feelings were expressed very well. You showed that her friend had no clue as to how she was making her feel by describing all their material things... good portrayal. I like how in the end you bring the main character to Jesus and how she knows where her hope comes from.

Great work and God bless.
Marie Hearty 09/13/12
I could identify with the main character as her feelings were expressed very well. You showed that her friend had no clue as to how she was making her feel by describing all their material things... good portrayal. I like how in the end you bring the main character to Jesus and how she knows where her hope comes from.

Great work and God bless.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/14/12
This is a good story. I could feel the inner conflict of the MC. I also liked the characters, even the friend who wasn't really a true friend. I liked the way you developed her personality.

I wish I could have seen even more of the exchange between the two and perhaps a peek into the MC's head. If you left out the long list of supplies that she bought (as they really aren't a vital part of the story) and instead used those words to show the reader the MC's emotional shape. For example her knuckles could have turned white from gripping the phone so hard or perhaps she was gritting her teeth or biting her lips. Anything that would help the reader know more about this delightful character of yours would be a great addition to the story.

The ending was the best part. My heart thumped when the kids noticed their mom was hurting. I also liked how she turned to the Bible to distract herself from her thoughts and problems. So many turn to other things. Keep writing, you have some good story lines that only you can tell. Your message in this one was great. You delivered it with dignity too. :)
Theresa Santy 09/15/12
Great presentation of an all too common struggle. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece.
Camille (C D) Swanson 09/20/12
Congrats! God Bless~