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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: Caldron's Reward
By Noreen Ophoff
08/26/08


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Dot had her little red car back! A viral infection had placed her flat in bed for three months, then her car had been in the shop for two more weeks, making the continuing struggles almost too much to bear. The day’s plan was the dollar store for note cards and cone incense, then to sit at one of the high tables, dangling her feet off a stool by the front window at Valley Café, to people-watch and sip raspberry ice tea.
“F-r-e-e-d-o-m” rang in her happy heart. Hubby, Rod, was great sharing his car with her, but it was different. She didn’t want to have to share, she needed, to do her own thing.

Friendly folks at the dollar store greeted her and she spoke to a child from church, purchased her items and drove on. Her quick run in the farmers’ market led her to a sign for a garage sale down another road. As she turned, the “check engine” light came on. Disappointment rose with the car’s internal combustion.

A friend, recently slipping into acquaintance category, had given her husband a book on the life of Job, to read and ponder. It was insulting. They’ve been living the life of Job for thirty-five years, they didn’t need some author’s acclamations.

Now she was pulling over again, waiting for the car’s boiling noise to quiet, to lift the hood and pour bottled water into the reservoir. This process was repeated every ten minutes over the next mile to her girlfriend, Sandy’s, where she left the car, asking Sandy’s husband, George, to run her home.

In the coolness of Sunday morning she and Rod retrieved the car. Monday they drove right back to the repair shop where it spent the entire summer. From June 20 to August 20 they waited for its return. The repairman had replaced the radiator in June, but it hadn’t needed it and he hadn’t asked her before installing it, so he said he’d fix the car now, at no charge, but at his own pace.

For every one of Dot’s necessary daytime events she had to take Rod to work at 5:30 a.m., 40 miles round trip, come home to leave again later, always mindful of the clock to pick him up at 4:30. Those days were exhausting and ripe with the familiar reminders of why she was on disability and unable to work.

So now it was August 21st and Dot Anderson, a plain woman, had signed over the title to her beloved little red car to the metal scrap yard for $250.00. The header was cracked, and would cost too much to repair. She wasn't having a pity-party, exactly, she was crushed.

Kriseline, Aiden, Jessie and Morgan, the cute and lively grandkids were supposed to come up today. At four years, two years, and the little girls just five months, it would have been fun to play in the meadow. Kriseline woke up coughing and sneezing and since Grandma Dot had just been on steroids for a skin infection, the shroud of grief saturated one grandmother’s heart. Pulling herself out of the doldrums, Dot thought she might have just enough strength to walk to, and from the meadow, taking the mossy pathway under the oaks for a possible glimpse of the elusive blue heron.

Several months ago, when their daughter, Karen, was on complete bed-rest with the twins, Dot’s prayers had changed due to a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Now her nightly prayers for several loved ones and herself, were for “physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and well-being, safety, protection and revitalization.”

From the lime-green algae-covered shallows, Dot was struck breathless by the majestically rising blue heron. The recovering woman stood perfectly still in the shadows as the bird circled, when lo and behold another adult heron joined the soaring flight, and then a third, a juvenile. Gliding on the wind, the prehistorics skimmed over basking turtles and darting minnows. In a twinkling, Dot viewed another nestling pirouetting on a dead limb before swooping into the ballet.

The steam escaped from Dot’s muscles and psyche as it had in her car. She would endure the challenges, again. One moment feeling like she was in a caldron with so many incongruous ingredients thrown on top of her, and mixed around, and now, to be rewarded with the emotional revitalization of nature at its apex.


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This article has been read 354 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/29/08
Great title!

I was really drawn to this poor woman's trials, but at times I had trouble following the chronological order, and a few events seemed to have little to do with the rest of the story.

The last few paragraphs are quite nice.
Patty Wysong08/31/08
What a beautiful moment! I love how the title tied in with the story.