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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Easter (05/30/05)

TITLE: The Hungry Month of March - 1937
By andria donnelly


Sheamus was staggering up the steep, rocky path grabbing the fence rails to help ease his steps. Molly caught sight of him through the lace kitchen curtains. She could easily make him out against the back drop of the green gray ocean. His gait was enough to give him away. “Poor Sheamus,” Molly whispered under her breath as she finished washing her teacup. With a wet finger she moved the curtain to follow his outline as he rounded the stable.

“Molly, I swear, that hill is gonna be the death of me,” he huffed, as he opened the kitchen door, kicking off his rubber boots. “What's for supper, my dear?” he asked, as he made his way to the washstand. Molly poured a kettle of warm water into the wash basin and passed him a towel. “Now Sheamus, she playfully scolded, you know well and good what's for supper. What is today?” “Oh, bless us and save us Molly, I must be getting senile. Sure, I could smell fish clear across the harbor. Who's not having fish today?” he chuckled.

Molly poured their tea, sat down, blessed herself and began to eat. “The merchant told Paddy he don't know how long he can leave him have anymore grub without he gets paid. Your poor brother is having a hard winter, Molly.” Sheamus said. “I brought Nellie down a bottle of partridge berry jam and few loaves of home made bread this morning,” Molly interrupted. “We'll do what we can for them, Molly. We'll be back fishing in a few weeks, please God,” Sheamus assured her. “Twas a fine supper, my dear,” Sheamus said gently patting his belly. That's three times this week for fish,” Molly said. “Yes, but eating it in the honor of the Good Lord makes it taste all the better 'tis evening,” her husband comforted her.

Sheamus was snoring loudly, but that's not what bothered Molly. She often thought how she'd rather hear him snore than be in that big old bed, without him. Molly couldn't stop thinking about Paddy, Nellie and the youngsters. She was still praying when she drifted off to sleep.

As Sheamus lit the fire in the cold kitchen, he thought about the next day being Easter. Christ's resurrection is mighty evidence of the power to raise anything and anyone from discouraging depths, he thought. He pulled on his rubber boots. “Even the darkest of days are witness to light,” he whispered to himself, as he quietly latched the storm door.

Sheamus made his way up the wooden ladder to the twine loft. “Sheam, Uncle Jack tells us that Paddy and the Missus been having a rough time of it.” Tom said. “Yes by, I 'spose they are. We've been doing what we can for them,” Sheamus said gently. “Well, I got a few extra potatoes in the cellar,” Tom interrupted. “I got a bit of salt fish they can have Sheam,” Johnny added. “We got plenty of carrots, I'll get Maggie to do some up for 'em,” Francis Hogan called out from behind the pot belly stove. One by one the crowd in the loft found something they could spare for their friend and neighbour. “We'll all be back fishing in a couple of weeks, this should help tie them over until then, won't it Sheam?” Tom questioned. “Yes by, it will. Boys, I don't know how to thank ye all,” Paddy said shaking his head.

Molly was taking clothes off the line when she saw her husband walking up the steep, rocky path. He wasn't grabbing the fence rails like most days. She noticed a spring in his step. Molly walked down to meet her husband. She joined him against the back drop of a calm blue ocean.

The hungry Month of March: People on the Island of Newfoundland, would have bought their winter staples in the fall of the year. By March they'd be running out or “scraping the barrel” as it was often referred to. Cod fishing, their livelihood, was still a few long weeks away.

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This article has been read 808 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Delores Baber06/06/05
This was a story that causes one to ponder. It's about sacrifices and helping others when helping requires a bit of sacrifice on one's part. Sacrifice. A good word to relate to Easter. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice leaving us an example. The people that shared from their meager sources were doing just that. He leaves one believing that, like the widow woman in the Bible, their storehouses will not go empty before fishing season begins. For the One who has the power to multiply fish and loaves still lives! You are a gifted writer.
Leticia Caroccio06/07/05
This was a great lesson in loving our neighbor as ourselves. I liked your characters. They were each independently strong and complemented each other. You wrote as if you know them personally.

My favorite line was:
"Even the darkest days are witness to light". This summed up your entire article. Even the darkest days we may go through, the love of God in our lives sheds light on us when we do what is right out of love. Nicely done.
Sandra Petersen 06/08/05
This is so rich with word pictures! Wonderful story! The first paragraph grabbed my attention right away and kept me reading.
darlene hight06/08/05
Excellent! Excellent story! Beautifully written!
dub W06/08/05
Wonderful story, I can see this expanded into a short story or more. Thank you.
Phyllis Inniss06/08/05
In this story love shines through. God is love and the light of the world. This is what the neighbours did for each other. They brought the light of God to each other.
Shari Armstrong 06/08/05
I really enjoyed reading this. The line "She was still praying when she drifted off to sleep" reminded me of something Mom told me that was said by one of the ladies from church: She used to say that she felt guilty falling asleep praying, but then realized what better way to go to sleep than talking peacefully with our Father.
Beth Hogan06/12/05
What a wonderful story.Your memories of newfoundland and your heritage have not left you yet.Kee up the wonder work.
Joyce Simoneaux06/12/05
Wonderfully written! Very moving and vividly depicted. Not only an excellent story of love and sacrifice but also of the power of unity.