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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)

By Jean Duerr


It was in May during the height of the Viet Nam War and two weeks before our first wedding anniversary that the mailman delivered an unusual looking letter addressed to my husband from the Department of Army. Anxious for John to open it, I handed it to him before looking through the rest of the mail; “Oh, no” John said, as he ripped into envelope and began to read, “Greetings, you are hereby ordered to report to 501 N Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a physical examination and be prepared to not return home. In a state of shock he looked at me and said, “I’m being drafted.” I felt a knot in the pit of my stomach.

Immediately our future flashed before us. We shuddered to think of the possibility of John going off to war and not returning home. Wrapped in each other’s arms we cried and talked and finally when our emotions calmed down, we looked into each others eyes and said, “Who’s really in charge here, the Army or the Lord? We chose to believe the Lord had our future in His hands and He would go with John and stay with me.

We had one month to prepare for his leaving and two weeks of that month was supposed to be spent on vacation in New England celebrating our first wedding anniversary. We decided to shorten the trip by one week so John could take care of some matters around the house especially those things relative to my safety and security.

All too quickly the day came when John had to report to the Induction Center. After kissing me goodbye, he sauntered through the double doors without looking back. I had put on a brave front for him, but now my guard was down and I hung my head and sobbed most of the way home.

Because I had never lived alone, I was a little anxious about being by myself, especially at night, but John assured me I would be fine and safe in the house. He had put an extra lock on the basement door facing the alleyway and checked the locks on the windows and front door. My parents lived across the street and I could have slept there, but I told myself I was a big girl, and I could do this. I was putting my trust in the Lord.

A few days after John was drafted, I bought an adorable Toy Poodle puppy that I named Suzette. She was a great guard dog. She protected me against loneliness. She loved to curl up on my lap and listen to me read the letters from John and lick the tears that rolled down my cheeks as I read, “I love you and miss you.”

After my nightly routine of checking the lock on the door in the basement, the front door, checking under the bed and closets, praying for protection against harm and danger, Suzette and I snuggled together and settled down for a good nights sleep feeling safe and secure.

One morning before heading out the front door, I picked up my pocketbook and reached for my keys that hang on a hook in the kitchen, but they were not there. Taken back, I said to myself, “where are they?” I tore the house apart while the clock ticked away. I had to drop Suzette off at Mother’s and head to work and at this rate, I would be late. Again, I asked myself the question, “Where are the keys?” I shuddered when I realized where they might be; in the lock on the outside of the front door. Slowly I opened the front door and there were my keys hanging from the lock in clear view for the world to see. I had gone to bed thinking because of what I had done I was safe and secure, but all along it was the Lord who saw my protector.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 03/13/06
Great story. A couple of little punctuation things, but very well done. Loved the surprise ending. Isn't it true-we take all the precautions, and then one little mistake teaches us it was God all along who was looking after things. Congratulations.
Gini Branch03/14/06
Suzette as the guard dog is great. She succeeded in her mission. Well told story. Comfortable style.
Jan Ackerson 03/15/06
Very tender and sweet. Did you mean "the Lord who was my protector" at the end? I love the idea of a poodle guard dog. Nice story.
Helen Paynter03/20/06
Lovely story, and congratulations on placing