Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: Momma Cook's Surprise
By Tim Pickl
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“Lord, please watch over them…”
A surreal scene greeted Jeff Cook and his daughter Amanda as they rode through the Kentucky countryside. From a distance, the hills looked like an Impressionist Artist’s painting--a sea of yellow spots, with swaths of green on a brilliant white background sparkling in the springtime sun.
Jeff’s older, rusting minivan stopped with a squawk outside of Momma's old log home in the holler. Upon closer inspection, the yellow and green colors were dandelions poking their heads through fresh fallen snow.
"Hey, those're dandelions--look at 'em all!" Jeff exclaimed, as he put the minivan’s gear in park.
"They shore are pretty in the snow, Daddy." remarked little Amanda with a smile. She hugged Annie, her Raggedy Ann doll, giggling. "I'm happy I git to see Granny!" Longingly, Amanda looked up at the log home. "Daddy, can I git outta the car now? Annie's gotta go--"
"Oh, shore, sweetheart." He walked around the minivan, wiggled the handle a few times, and slowly slid the door open. Then, he struggled to unlatch the seatbelt. "This ol' thang! I gotta git this fixed... ouch. Oh--there."
"I'm free!" Amanda bounded through the snow up the hill toward the porch. She tried the door.
It was locked.
She tried pounding.
"Daddy, what's wrong? Where's Granny?" Amanda desperately pounded on the old screen door again.
"Hold on, punkin. I'm comin'." Jeff grabbed a couple of clothes bags, and made his way through the snow.
"Hurry, Daddy! I'm scared."
Momma Cook swung open the front door with a big smile. "Surprise!"
"Granny!" Amanda hugged her, with Raggedy Annie between them.
"Hi, Momma. Yer silly as always. It's good to be home."
For a brief moment, they spontaneously had a group hug.
"Bless you, son. Ya'll come in."
"It was a long trip, Momma. A buncha the roads're still pretty bad. We need a nap."
That evening, the smell of freshly baked cornbread and apple pie wafted through the old Cook home.
"Oh, Momma, you shouldn't have."
"Oh, yes, I shoulda an' I did. Don't you fuss about me, now. I kin take care a myself."
Amanda interrupted, "Can I have some cornbread, Granny? Puhleez?"
"Here you go, baby girl. You kin sit by the farrplace an' eat it." She turned to Jeff. "Don't you ‘but Momma' me, now."
"Just hush. Let's go set a spell by the farr."
Amanda and Raggedy Annie sat on the floor staring at the burning wood, mesmerized by the warm, crackling fire. “This farr feels good, Granny.”
Momma Cook sat down in her favorite chair nearby. “Nothin’ like a hot farr on a cool evenin.”
Jeff sat on the floor near Amanda, warming his hands.
“Granny—please tell the Snowman story, puhleez?”
“I reckon I could tell it. It’s bin a long time…. Way back in-the-day, B.C, yer Daddy wuz workin’ late one day—“
“Granny, what’s ‘B.C.’?”
“B.C. means Before Christ, honey. It wuz before yer Daddy gave his heart to the Lord when yer Momma passed.”
“Oh….” Amanda trailed off, nodding and smiling.
“There wuz a turrible snowstorm, kinda like we had now. Turrible! The wind wuz a-blowin’ and it got me a-prayin, I’ll tell you. Yer Daddy decided to stop at the Ol’ Sawmill Tavern to wait out the storm. While he wuz gone, a buncha kids from aroun’ here made a huge snowman. Even dressed it up with a coat and hat.
“Anyway, yer Daddy had too much to drink, but by a muracle-- thank God--somehow he made it home. Oh, I shore wuz a-prayin’! When he got here, it was dark. He stumbled up the holler, just a-sangin’ all loud. He made fun of the preacher sangin’--
I'll fly away, Oh Glory, I'll fly away--
“Then--he stopped in his tracks. He met the Snowman, an said, ‘How do, sir?’ an’ he tipped his hat. When the Snowman didn’t answer, he asked it again. The third time he punched the Snowman, an’ his head went rollin’ down the hill. He ran in the house a-screamin’--
“’Oh, Momma! Momma! I just killed a man--knocked his head clean off!’”
All three laughed.
Then Jeff suddenly announced, smiling, “Momma, guess what? Amanda gave her heart to the Lord.”
“Praise the Lord!” Momma exclaimed, surprised.
“Gotcha back, Momma.”
“I reckon you did!”
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