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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: Growing Up Greyhound
By Marilyn Schnepp


"Have you ever heard of Sur-Lily?" my friend asked.

Blowing my nose, I tried hard to smile at my friend through my tears, as he was doing his best to try and cheer me up. Since men usually find weeping an awkward emotion for them to handle, I instinctively realized my friend was attempting to change the subject in order to turn off my waterworks.

"No," I sniffled, "who is she?"...sensing immediate relief in his smile as he sensed his tactic was working.

"Sur-Lily was a real beaut," he began. "Slender, well built with long legs, short hair and dark brown eyes...and although a little bitch (female dog), she was the Queen of Palm Beach Racecourse.

"Growing up greyhound - Sur-Lily was naturally born in a kennel and bred to race. And 'Race' she did - having just won her 32nd race in a row. It looked as if Sur-Lily was unbeatable and race fans were flocking to Palm Beach just to get their share of the winnings...including dumb, stupid, greedy me."

I was beginning to smile.

"Since you're not hep to Race Tracks, there's a mechanical rabbit made out of wood with a powder puff tail that runs a few yards ahead of the dogs, enticing them to race at full speed to be the first to catch it...but the engineers of this make-believe rabbit make sure it's never caught. If a dog did catch it by accident or mechanical failure, however - all they'd get would be a mouthful of splinters from the wood and a wad of cotton from it's tail.

"Anyway, I was filled with the #1 sin that brought Adam & Eve to their knees, GREED, and hocked everything I owned plus my life savings to bet on a sure thing...Sur-Lily to win.

"Okay, so the race begins; 'Roger' the rabbit is announced on the loud speaker and starts his run, then Sur-Lily shoots out of her box like a bullet and is already half way down the track before any one of her seven cohorts are even out of their boxes...and me and hundreds of other fans are yelling, 'Go Lily, Go!...when suddenly it happens!"

He pauses, and I, wide-eyed with suspense urge him on; "Don't stop now! What happened?"

My friend chuckles.

"A sea gull comes out of nowhere, swoops down on soaring wings and flies directly into the path of the speeding Sur-Lily. Forgetting all about Roger the rabbit, which was several yards away and always unattainable anyway, she fastens her sights on the gull just inches away and leaps up and over the guard rail...which brings a concert of loud groans from the stands, ends her winning streak along with her Queenship, and sends many a greedy and weeping sinner into debtor's court and bankruptcy...including yours truly."

By now I'm laughing aloud. "Your sad tale of woe reminds me of Solomon's wise proverbs," I giggled, "...something about a bird nearby being worth more than a rabbit in the far distance, or a thousand greedy gamblers in the stands, or something to that effect."

Now it was his turn to laugh.

"You sure have a way of making up your own phrases to fit the situation, don't you? But my story does have a moral to it...don't throw away the sun, moon and stars to chase after a rainbow that may never show up."

We were laughing as we walked out of the library and down the steps to the parking lot where we said our "good bye's", then parted ways and each walked in opposite directions; but after taking about a dozen steps, we both turned around at the same identical time and waved at each other as we yelled "Sur-Lily" in perfect unison.

Smiling, I walked to my car wondering what I had been crying about earlier, but because of a friend...I couldn't remember.

"After the friendship of God, a friend's affection is the greatest treasure here below.
* * *
"Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend." Plautus
* * *
"If we had all the riches that we could ever spend, it could never buy the treasures the heart finds in a friend."

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This article has been read 765 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Wistrom01/17/08
How wonderful, this read so well, I felt I was eavesdropping. Keet it up!
Joanne Sher 01/18/08
A lovely story with some incredibly vivid dialog. I like that we have no clue what her difficulty was. Nice job.
Beckie Stewart01/20/08
Good use of dialogue and story telling. You did great "showing". Keep writing.
Sally Hanan01/21/08
This is a good piece of writing. Because of the word limit, it may have worked better to leave your crying out of it and just focus on the dog. Watch your tenses too--you slipped out of past tense into present tense a few times. Good job otherwise!
Sara Harricharan 01/21/08
Pretty good! The last line was good, about how she forget why she was crying-the true sign of a friend. I wish there'd been just a little more story, I'd been enjoying the bit with the wooden rabbit. Very fun read! ^_^
Marilyn Schnepp 01/24/08
Author's Note to self: Ranked #6 in Level 2 (Just missed the top five)Close