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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)

TITLE: Kathy's Kids
By Tim Pickl


“Good Morning. Thank you for coming to Kathy’s wonderful Memorial Service today… oh… this is gonna be tough.” Margo stopped, wiping tears from her eyes, then continued. “I’ve heard it said that If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth millions. I’m gonna to show you my Cousin Kathy’s spirit with some home videos.” Margo nodded and the main lights in the church dimmed.

She pressed the Play button on the remote control in her hand.


A younger Kathy sat on a 2-seat glider chair next to Annabelle, a toddler in a home-based day care setting.

She was reading to Annabelle from a Dr. Seuss book.

One fish—“

“One finch—“

Two fish—“

“Two finch—“

Red fish—“

“Rad finch—“

Blue fish—“

“Balloon finch! Yay!”

“Yay!” Kathy and Annabelle laughed together.


Margo paused the DVD. Kathy’s smile and Annabelle’s joyful face lit up the church from three large flat-panel monitors.

“My Cousin was filled with God’s love, and she shared Him everywhere she went. Kathy never got married. She had a couple of chances, but God had other plans for her life. About the last time she considered getting married and have children, her parents needed her to move in to take care of them. She humbly heeded the call.”


Margo pressed Play. The scene changed to an obviously older home movie. Kathy carried a large birthday cake, complete with burning candles.

“Happy Birthday, Dad! Make a wish and blow out the candles.”

“Oh, Kat, you are silly. I wonder where you got that from.” Kathy’s father quipped, paused, and then blew out all the candles, except one. “That one’s for your mother.” He chuckled, and the camera zoomed out, and captured him hugging his bride of 49 years.


Margo paused the recording, and Kathy’s smiling Dad and Mom beamed into the sanctuary.

“Undaunted, my Cousin Kathy continued to serve others after she retired. Within a year, Kathy’s parents went home to be with the Lord because of a horrible car accident. Her brother—who was driving--was paralyzed. Kathy vowed to take care of him, just like she took care of her parents. Even during that stressful time—because her brother was very needy—Kathy took the time to volunteer at my Day Care twice a week.”


Margo turned again toward one of the monitors, and pressed Play.

Kathy was sitting on the glider chair again, reading from a different Dr. Seuss book this time to Jackie Jo, another young child in Margo’s Day Care.

“The time has come.”

“The time has come!”

“The time is now.”

“The time is now!”

“Just go. Go. GO! I don’t care how.”

“I don’t care now.

“You can go by foot. You can go by cow. “

“Wait! Use my name this time!”

“Okay… You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Jackie Jo Mooney, will you please go now!”

Kathy and Jackie Jo leaned into each other, giggling.

“I love you, Kathy.”

“Oh honey, I love you, too. Sooooo much.”


Margo paused the scene, and Kathy and Jackie Jo’s faces shined into the tearful eyes of everyone present. Wiping tears, Margo pressed on. “Kathy gave her life for us, her family and friends. She is an awesome example. Jesus said it this way, Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. So, last summer when Kathy turned 80, we had a surprise Birthday Party for her. All the kids she volunteered to help me with in my Day Care are now teenagers, and I made sure they showed up. Kathy had no idea--she thought she was coming over for a birthday party for one of my grandkids.”


Margo pressed Play again.

Everyone focused on Kathy as she slowly walked into Margo’s home, clutching a colorful birthday present. She turned the corner—


“What? Annabelle—Margo—oh….” Kathy spotted the beautiful “HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATHY!” banner taped on the wall. Then, one-by-one, all the kids she helped in the Day Care, now teenagers, hugged her and tearfully told her, “I love you, Kathy.”

Kathy began crying. “I…I need to sit down. Margo, come here.”


Margo paused the video. “It was then Kathy whispered the awful news of her cancer in my ear.”

Margo nodded again and the lights came back up.

Then, spontaneously, the teenagers came forward and surrounded Margo with hugs, love and prayer.

Margo wept.

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This article has been read 1165 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/29/08
This was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful life, exactly as the Scripture described. You did a great job of showing us Kathy. I would loved to have known her.
Karen Wilber06/01/08
My favorite part is where she's reading the books with the kids. I could see it. I like the freeze frames too. And then her 'kids' turn around a minister to Margo. Very uplifiting.
LauraLee Shaw06/01/08
Tender and emotional tribute. Great way to unfold the story of her life and approach the topic at the same time. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard06/02/08
What a lovely tribute to a beautiful woman of God. If only we could all have a Kathy in our lives... if only we could all be a Kathy to others. Great job, well done.
Jan Ackerson 06/02/08
Very creative structure! I enjoyed this a lot.
Debbie Wistrom06/02/08
Your words made me wish that I had met this wonderful person. thanks for writing this. If fact you are blessed, if fiction, you are doubly blessed.

Lollie Hofer06/02/08
Wouldn't the world be a better place if God could bless us all with a Kathy in our lives? Loved the way you presented this story. The little clips worked extremely well and you are extremely talented as well. Thanks for sharing.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/02/08
Touching entry. You did a good job of showing us Kathy's live and the memorial service and not just telling about it.
Joshua Janoski06/02/08
It wouldn't be writing from the perspective of video camera clips, but you did a wonderful job with it. I could picture every clip and the memorial service itself in my mind.

If this is fiction, you did a great job of making Kathy seem 100% real. I really love this woman!
Beckie Stewart06/04/08
What a beautiful tribute to a woman who lived Jesus in the skin.
Cheri Hardaway 06/04/08
A beautiful tribute to a well-loved cousin! I loved the video and the freeze-frame commentary.

Just a couple small technical errors:

"I’m gonna to show..."

"...getting married and have children..."

Just a reminder to not rely only on spell check for editing, because it won't catch errors with words spelled correctly. I'm truly not trying to be nit-picky; it's just a shame to have these small error in a piece as well-written as this one.

I felt like you captured Kathy's life perfectly. It felt like I was sitting in the memorial service. Good job. Blessings, Cheri
Sara Harricharan 06/04/08
This gave me goosebumps reading about Kathy and the legacy of love that she's left behind with all those lives that she shared, touched and enjoyed. I'm glad that Margo had friends/family to surround her and that she showed videos to capture the spirit of this. Wonderful job! ^_^
LaNaye Perkins06/05/08
This was very touching, and a beautiful testiment to a life lived well. Great writing!