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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Good and Bad (05/07/09)

TITLE: Lilly
By Mary McLeary


I won’t be telling you anything you don’t already know when I say we are living is a peculiar world. This point was made plain to me after a conversation I had with my granddaughter, Lilly.

Lilly is a joy. With white/blond hair, vivid blue eyes and a great sense of humor she is, understandably, very popular at her middle school. She’s a cheerleader and honor roll student. She also has the sweetest spirit because, I believe, she has been raised by a mom and dad who live their faith. She doesn’t just hear words on Sunday. She sees The Word lived daily. My point, Lilly is grounded in the faith.

Lilly often spends the night with us. Last Friday her school let out at 11:30 and I picked her up at the bus stop. After hitting Sonic for two caramel cappuccinos, we proceeded to my house. It is a twenty minute drive. I innocently asked the typical grandmother question, “How was your morning?” This is the conversation that followed:

“Well, in class my English teacher, Ms Campbell, read a scripture from the Bible.”

I replied, “That’s good.”

“No Meme, that’s bad.”

“How can reading scripture be bad?”

“Because,” Lilly responded as she rolled her eyes, “Dirk Lee, the kid who sits behind me, said he was an atheist and shouldn’t have to listen to that stuff.”

“Oh, that’s too bad”

“Actually, that’s good.”

“What do you mean?” I puzzled.

“You see, the teacher told him that the Bible was great literature as well as inspirational writing.”

“Oh, good.”

“Meme! That’s bad because Dirk yelled at the teacher and stormed out of the room.”

“That’s bad.”

“Really it’s good because after he left Anna Wells raised her hand and asked if we could have a minute of silence to pray for Dirk.”

I didn’t know what to say. It sounded good, but who knew? “Good or bad?” I asked.

“Well, bad I guess because Jacob Wilson got tickled and told the teacher he would pay some body else to leave if that would shut Anna up.”

“Lilly, are you making this up?”

“No, Meme I don’t have to make it up. It gets weirder.”


“When I went to math I got my unit test back and made a ninety-six!”

“Wow, that’s great!”

“Not really. It’s bad because Cordell Jones started making fun of me for being a nerd.”

“That is so bad!” I fumed. How dare he!”

“Actually that was good because Frank Owen, our quarterback, told Cordell that being a nerd means you don’t get kicked off the football team so he should try it.”

“Good one,” I laughed.

“Nope, that’s bad because Cordell got mad and flipped Frank off, and the teacher saw him.”


“Not very good because the teacher thought Cordell was flipping him off and gave him a detention slip.”

“Lilly, is that good or bad? I’m a little confused.”

“Apparently Cordell was dynamite waiting to blow and the detention slip lit the fuse. Cordell jumped out of his seat and charged the teacher.”

“Bad, bad, bad” I muttered while shaking my head.

“Yes! It was bad for Cordell because the teacher was also the wrestling, coach and he body slammed Cordell.”

“And then. . ?” I was almost afraid to ask.

“When Cordell got his breath back, the teacher sent him to the office. Cordell called his grandmother and the teacher got suspended.”


“Without pay.”

“No way!”

“Way,” Lilly replied.

“What happened to Cordell?”

““He went to detention and we went home.”

At that point, Lilly’s cell phone rang and as she talked to her friend, I pondered what I had just heard. I was struck by how unbiased Lilly had been when relating the events of the morning. She didn’t champion the teachers or the students. I thought I had clearly discerned the good behavior from the bad, but had Lilly? Her phone conversation ended and as we pulled into the garage I said, “Lilly, how will you make it through this awful, terrible, very bad world?”

She looked at me with those big blue eyes, grinned her precious grin and said, “I guess you, Papa and Mom and Dad will just have to keep praying.”

That’s a good answer!

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Member Comments
Member Date
samuel saalwaechter 05/15/09
An amazing story and much more so if non-fiction. I enjoyed it. Thanks!!
Steph Gutmann05/18/09
This is a great conversationa; piece... very creative, i like it a lot.

It is very easy to see the differences between the generations in terms of our understanding of one another, as well as the constantly changing meanings behind vocab!!

well done!
Vickie Buchanan05/18/09
Awesome dialog. Very believable to anyone with teens. Enjoyed this a lot.
Coleene VanTilburg 05/19/09
How blessed you are to get so many words from what sounds like a pre-teen or teen granddaughter. It sounds like she has been prayed for by Grandma too! if only we could all look at our situations and world without being so jaded. I loved this story, and I think it must be true.