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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)

TITLE: Mr. Smiley
By Jan Warrick


Absentmindedly she traced the gold letters on the front of the small blue book. Flipping it open she looked at his picture and the words that described him. Name, Harold Smiley; Birthday, June 12, 1926; Place of birth, South Dakota, USA. “So distant”, she thought. “There has to be more to him than just those few words.”

“Who is this man?” she whispered. Slowly she turned each page. Carefully recorded were the names and dates of the places he visited. “I wonder what he did in all those places”, she said quietly to no one in particular.

“He traveled the world with the love of his life”, a gentle voice answered back.

Startled, she looked up. “How do you know that?” she asked the young man sitting before her.

“Here” he said, “Take a look at this.”

Handing her a thick, leather bound book, he continued, “You can see some of the places he has been”.

The old leather creaked as she opened the album he had handed her. Black and white photos, yellowing on the edges, were taped four to each page. Smiling from each photo was the man who’s passport she had just looked at. He was younger when these pictures were taken, she thought. “Where do you think this is?” she asked.

“That is Egypt”, said her visitor. “And those are the pyramids”

“Mighty silly looking, don’t you think?” She shook her head as she turned another page.

“He took his bride there on their honeymoon”, the young man explained. “That’s her right there”, he said as he pointed to the beautiful young woman standing next to Harold Smiley.

“She looks very happy”, said the woman.

“She was very happy”, the man replied. “Harold and his wife loved telling me about their adventures, and they had many.”

“Can you tell me one of those adventures?’

“I would love to, but I have to get back to work now.”

Picking up the old passport, the woman handed it to the young man. “Here”, she said, “you better get this back to Mr. Smiley. He might be missing it.”

“Mr. Smiley doesn’t need it anymore. He has taken the best trip ever and is waiting for his bride to join him when she can.”

“Oh I see”, said the woman a little confused. Looking back at the book, she turned another page, lost in her own thoughts.

Standing up, the young man stepped next to her and kissed the top of her head. “I will see you tomorrow mom. I can tell you one of your adventures then.”

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This article has been read 1057 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Malley08/02/05
Oh, so bittersweet! I gather the woman has Alzheimers? Creative story and nicely written.
Nina Phillips08/03/05
That was a very interesting twist to this story. I read it twice! Nice developement, and surprising ending. Nice entry! God bless ya, littlelight
Shirley Thomas08/03/05
Such a touching story! Pulled on my heart strings. Thanks for sharing.
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/06/05
Oh! I didn't see the ending coming! How sweet and sad. Good job, well written!
Shari Armstrong 08/07/05
Well written! It's so hard to see loved ones forget like that. It reminded me of my Grandparents (but not the travel part).
Sandra Petersen 08/07/05
What a surprise ending! So tender the son was toward his mother! This was well written!
Karen Ward08/08/05
Lovely Jan, a well deserved win!
Anita Neuman08/08/05
I was reading along, thinking this was a nice, well-written story, but not sure why it was #1. Until I got to that amazing ending! It made the whole story pop. Congratulations on a well-deserved win!
Maxx .08/08/05
It was only a matter of time! Congrats! Ya done good! :-)
Cheri Hardaway 08/08/05
I never saw the end coming! This is an excellent story! Thanks!
Linda Watson Owen08/08/05
Beautiful. You so gently and smoothly glided your reader into that poignant ending! Congratulations!
Val Clark08/08/05
Well done, Jan. When so many are impatient with their elderly relatives this makes a well written, delightful and encouraging tale. yeggy
Deborah Porter 08/08/05
Jan, congratulations on this great win.. I know that it definitely took you by surprise, but it was very well deserved. It's now time for you to move on up to Level 3 - you're more than ready for it. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Crista Darr08/09/05
Oh, this is so tender and beautiful. I love it.
Bill Shurkey08/09/05
O.Henry, move over!
Jan, your story was beautiful and touched me on a personal level. Great job.

Anthony Tophoney08/09/05
Congratulations! Surprise endings are hard to pull off in 750 words but you did it with even less. Nice work!
Cyndie Odya-Weis08/10/05
poignant-precious- very nicely stated- thank you