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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)

TITLE: Nana's Diary
By Connie Van Berkel


I stared at the pink diary laden with dust. I could see yellow pages held worn and tattered edges. Nana’s diary lay on that shelf in that room since she died three months ago. She had willed her diaries to me, and marked this pink book to be the first one read. Grief had held court with my emotions and I knew the heartache of missing her would overwhelm the joy of Nana’s writings.

Today, however, with a compelled need I settled into the rocking chair where Nana wrote her daily musings, and with respect placed the book on my lap. Kent was out “digging dirt” as we say behind the old barn. His workday must have been dreadful since darkness had already claimed the day when he went to dig dirt. Although we both work in the city, we live on this farm. I was comforted by the aroma of crock-pot stew that filled the room with a homey feel, much like when Nana and PaPa owned this place.

I stared at the book in my lap for some time hoping it would open itself. With renewed resolve I turned to the first page.

June 1972

Trina comes tomorrow for her yearly summer visit. PaPa and I can’t wait to see our precious granddaughter. I reckon she’s grown a foot since we’ve seen her and since she’s now 13 I imagine she’s filling out nicely. She brings such joy to our summers, and I think Trina likes it here too.

You know that boy, Kent, down the road? He sure is a nice one and smart too. Now, don’t get angry with me for meddling, but I think Trina and Kent would make a fine husband and wife someday. Let’s see, just how can I get them introduced. I know, but we’ll talk more about that later. Lord, young love is so precious; can we hurry it along just a little?"

Well, I sure didn’t figure that one out. Nana was smarter than I thought under her grey hair.

"That old coot of a husband, Charlie, you gave me brought me a bunch of fresh flowers from the garden today. I hadn’t known he planted them and didn’t know he knew how. Charlie had said the planting was easy since Trina had dug dirt so much last summer by the old barn that the ground was ripe and ready. That 'digging dirt' has been a real blessing, Lord. I still chuckle about her dirt digging last year. Trina’s profanity and disrespect was a new one for us, so she got her fill of dirt. As you told me Lord, when digging dirt, you just can’t help think about the earth, the Lord, and how we all need to make nice with one another. The look on Charlie’s face when Trina said she was too important to feed chickens was priceless! Guess Trina knew what to do when she saw PaPa’s reaction. She turned on her heel, picked up the trowel and went behind the barn. We had a good laugh. Trina is quite a girl."

I remember that summer well. Seems like every hour I was out “digging dirt.” My favorite place was behind the old barn because of the apple trees in the next farm. I admit to tasting a few apples during my “digging dirt” times.

"Charlie and I have decided to will Trina (and I hope Kent) the farm. Her parents think it’s a good idea, since this is where Trina learned so much about life. Not that her parents haven’t taught Trina, it’s merely they are working hard to make a life for Trina; and, isn’t that what grandparents are for?"

"The bliss of sleep is calling, Lord. Until tomorrow I thank you for this life and please keep my family in your loving care."

Tears were welling up in my eyes when Kent opened the door with a huge grin on his face. He proudly presented a bunch of flowers. I brushed a kiss against his cheek, “Have I got a story to tell you, husband.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 01/18/07
You did a wonderful job of characterization. I loved knowing Trina both "then" and "now" - and I certainly felt like I knew Nana through her lovely diary entries. A great ending too.
Esther Phillips01/23/07
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your article. I felt like I was there from the time you started reading the diary and on to the remebrance of the entries. I, too, am a Nana and so that gave me still another dimension. You did a great job of writing and pulling this together in a meaningful entry. Thanks for your submission.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/23/07
What a precious story of a grandmother's influence. The diary writings were believable and helped in your character development. Nice piece.