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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: birthday (05/23/05)

TITLE: Drowning Delays Candle Lighting
By Pam Kumpe
05/29/05


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Drowning at a birthday party might take away from Mandy’s celebration, or at least postpone the blowing out of her candles.

Swimming in the lake, a June birthday brought kids together from all around the area.

Pete jumped from the dock, “Bombs a way,” he yelled. Tucking his feet, he grabbed his knees, splashing the Thompson triplets. Treading water in shallow water, the girls wiped their faces.

“Stop splashing,” they cried in unison, returning the splash.

Mandy walked with Kelly, her best friend toward the lawn chairs on the dock.

Sitting down, the girls kicked off their sandals, just as Pete pulled himself up out of the water. He shook his head and doused the girls with water.

“Pete, stop getting us wet.” Mandy instructed. “We are sun bathing.”

“Sorry, it’s just so much fun.” He answered back, leaping into the lake.

On the picnic table beside the house, the birthday cake with ten candles waited to be eaten. Mandy’s mom carried the presents from the house placing them on the other end of the table.

Not far from the dock, Sally Sue swam in shallow water.

Pete stood on the dock, deciding on a summer Sault this time, hoping to master a new dive. He tucked, jumped and fell off balance, splashing into the water hard.

Beneath him, he hit something, it felt like a rock, a big rock, and it left him dazed.

Forced under, Sally Sue swallowed unwanted water, when the object crashed in on her. Pete shoved her down to the bottom, to the floor of the lake.

Trying to stand, her feet stuck in the mud, she struggled to move and felt dizzy. Unable to swim up for air, Sally Sue choked.

Suddenly, Pete floated to the top, his legs untangled as he kicked; he finally freed himself and climbed onto the dock, wiping his head.

Sally Sue popped up, gasping for air. She took a deep breath, coughed and looked around, no one responded. She inhaled, sucked in air, and coughed, again.

She replayed the moment in her mind, the suffocating sensation lingered for awhile and she realized no one knew just how scared she was when Pete landed on her.

Soon, Mandy opened her presents and rode her new bike. The kids gobbled up chocolate cake and one by one they all went home.

And Sally Sue never went swimming in the lake again, it was a birthday she will never forget.

Every year, as you add candles to your birthday cake, are you tangled up in the cares of the world? Does it feel like struggles are drowning you, pushing you down? Do you feel like you are suffocating?

If so, remember each breath you take, each birthday you celebrate is a gift from the Lord, his present a presence in your life. Count to three, close your eyes and get swept away in the love of your Savior.

And when the waves of fear grow, cling to the one sure thing you know, hold onto Jesus, don’t ever let go. Besides, he can swim better than anyone, I know!


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Member Comments
Member Date
Leticia Caroccio05/31/05
My stomach was in tight knots as I read this. You replayed the moments at the lake perfectly. I found myself there. What a wonderful lesson on the mercy of our Lord. Nicely done.
dub W06/03/05
I liked it until the last three paragraphs when the style shifted and second person.
darlene hight06/04/05
I agree with the comment that Dub made concerning your close. It is a piece that is well worth a rewrite, however. You did an excellent job describing the event to the point that I too was holding my breath worrying that she was going to drown. If the point that you were making was the way we get entangled in worldly things. It would help the flow to introduce that in the beginning of the piece and then wrap it up nicely at the end. I wouldn't change the description of the near drowning that was perfection.
Sally Hanan06/08/05
Me too. The ending was too much of a shift, but it was very well written. What if you stick to Sally Sue's feelings rather than interject with your own POV?