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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas (04/25/05)

TITLE: Older and Wiser Eyes
By Linda Stauth


The doorbell rang and five excited children scrambled over each other to see who could get there first. Mother gently shooed her young ones aside and opened the front door allowing a gust of frosty winter air to invade their meager abode. Propped against the stranger’s belly lay a large, wooden, overflowing basket. Through frosty breath, the middle-aged gentleman softly explained the nature of his visit, “Merry Christmas, God loves you!”
In quiet thanks, Mother closed the door to the stranger and the cold night, and awkwardly carried the heavy gift to the table. Ten wide eyes peered into the basket. “Oohs” and “aahs” could be heard among the small, excited voices as each item appeared. Mother’s hands shook as she unloaded the supplies for a complete turkey dinner. Gloria scraped some ice off the frozen turkey while Steven proudly held up a can of corn niblets and reminded everyone of his most favorite vegetable in the whole wide world.
Why is Mother crying?
“Okay children, quickly now! Time to get ready for bed,”
Tonight there would be no Father to tuck them in. Four pairs of sad little eyes didn’t understand but the fifth, older set of eyes did. No father to scold them for getting out of bed. No father to tell funny stories; like the time he stepped on a frog. Father was away again, in a place called “The Third East Wing.”
Unable to sleep, the one with mature eyes glided down the stairs, stopping suddenly near the bottom. Soft weeping was coming from the kitchen.
“He’s broken his watch and torn his pajamas. He sees spiders all over the walls and worst of all,” sobbed Mother, “He didn’t know who I was.” The pain in Mother’s voice was almost too much for the mature one to bear. “New medications, even shock treatments aren’t working…….
With heavy heart the one with older and now wiser eyes quietly climbed the stairs and slipped beneath the worn covers. “God, please heal my daddy and bring him home for Christmas and PLEASE, PLEASE God make my mommy happy.”
Ten hungry eyes bowed in prayer, while two weary, tear-stained ones gave thanks for the Christmas dinner before them.
The sound of the front door creaking sent Mother joyfully bolting from her chair. There before our very eyes was Father. He looked different somehow but he was home. Eight spindly legs bolted across the old linoleum floor and clung to him.
One pair of older wiser glistening eyes stopped to look upward first. The best Christmas gift of all had just come home.

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This article has been read 653 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kathy Cartee05/02/05
A heart touching story.

vicki mccollum05/02/05
Very beautifully written. loved the view from the different eyes, the spindly legs. glad the dad came home. It would be a wonderful world if little girls didn't have to have such wise eyes at that age...I always remember that when something breaks my heart...God died to make it all better. P.T.L
Leticia Caroccio05/05/05
This was a touching story. My only suggestion: Elaborate, give more details. I know that there is a limit on words for submission, but I would love to hear more about their life.

I loved your description of the eyes: Wide eyes, mature eyes, teary eyes. Nicely done.
Phyllis Inniss05/05/05
Beautifully told and very touching. Very glad the dad came home. Like your descriptions too.
Suzanne R05/07/05
I also liked the theme of eyes through the piece. Mental illness is such a difficult thing for families as well as the sufferer. Thanks for bringing the plight of families of patients to light in this context.
Suzanne R05/07/05
P.S. A tip for making future entries even better.... Just leave a space between paragraphs. It makes it easier to read. Loved the title, too, by the way - very apt.