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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Lights (10/30/08)

TITLE: Tickle Memories
By Judith Gayle Smith


"My heart just breaks for poor sweet Marjorie. She shut herself away from everyone after her adored Ben died. She has no children or grandchildren at this time of year! We should have her here with us for Christmas..."

"Mary, Mary, Mary! Always taking in the stray whipped puppy or mopey mangy cat! Maybe lonely Marjorie WANTS to be alone. Did you ever consider that? She didn't even pass out treats for Halloween!" Jeff, rather callously opined. "Now help me untangle these dagnable blasted twisted lights! Worse than fishing line! Why do we save them year after year? Do you like seeing me go through this torturous mess? Why not just buy new strings each year? Hrrumph!"

"Jeffrey! We have this same argument every Christmas! You know our budget cannot take the strain of new lights! You want everything inside as well as outside maniacally bright! Your words! Your ungodly costly mess. You untangle it - I have pies to bake!" Mary huffily flounced off, then stopped abruptly. "You want me to ask Marjorie or not? Surely even you cannot be that heartless this time of year! Where's your Christmas spirit? Your Christian heart?"

"Ask me again after all this Holiday hoopla is over!", fumed Jeff. "And where are those rotten kids? I could use some serious help here!"

"Don't you renenber, dear? When I asked them to help me prepare the house for company, you shooed them outside to build a snowman. You said cleaning and baking was no way to spend their Christmas vacation. How does it feel when the shoe is on YOUR foot? By the way, thank you DEAR, for all your willing help."

Blowing a hank of hair off her face, which looked rather elfin, with splotches of flour from too much baking - Mary realized she was being just plain mean and retaliatory. "Jeff, please love - forgive this cranky harridan. It seems we always quarrel when the holidays come. And they are supposed to be holy days! What's wrong with us? We shouldn't be at each other's throats", she moaned. "Especially now".

Seeing a sad little tear trailing its way through the flour on Mary's cheek, Jeff put down the hopeless hank of tangled bulbs and wire and strode over to Mary, enfolding her in arms gentled by her heartfelt apology. He tasted her salty tears and pronounced she desperately needed more sugar! Holding each other lovingly, the two exhausted battlers called a truce, falling to the couch, in sweet exhaustion - tears quickly dried with contented snuggles..

"Mom! Dad! Come see our snowman!" enthused exciteable son Jeff and his bouncing little sister Robin! Very proud and extremely cute they were - snow puddlemelting off their soaked boots onto Mary's freshly scrubbed and waxed floors. We named him Mr. Ben!"

"How sweet! Do you miss him muchly?" "Oh yes! He always helped us with the biggest snowballs! And Mrs. Ben gave us his driving cap and pipe and his cartoon tie to put on him! He looks too funny!

Mrs. Ben says she wants us to share in her 'tickle memories'. What are tickle memories, Mommy?"


"Tickle memories are all I have now", reflected Mary, remembering the sweet surrender and snuggles. "Jeffrey has long ago passed on. Jeff and Robin have grandchildren now, living thousands of miles away. Funny, how dear Marjorie's words come back to sustain me. I still feel the flour flurries caking on my oven heated sweaty face, and dear sweet funny Jeffrey solemnly tasting and kissing my tear streaks away.

Tickle memories, yes. Memories that tickle my worn out but oh so full heart. Tickle memories keeping Jeffrey's bright love lights aglow as I take comfort in God's most precious and holy Word. Jesus is all I have now - He is the brilliance, the true Light, and He is all I need."

Wishing you all delightful and warm tickle memories to share...

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beckie Stewart11/06/08
Very nice reminder to enjoy what you have while you still have it.
Marlene Austin11/09/08
Tenderly written piece. Nice. :)