Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas (04/25/05)
TITLE: Older and Wiser Eyes
By Linda Stauth
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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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