Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: Winter-Painted Roses
By Ada Nett
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With frozen fingers Old Jake tried to zip up the jacket but he couldn‘t. The zipper was broken. He bent back over the box trying to find another jacket. The Salvation Army attendant gave Jake a hard look and said irritably “Sir only one item per person…move on along now“. Old Joe humbly nodded his head and made his way back to his grocery cart . He pulled the jacket around tightly and tucked it into the top of his pants. Slowly he ambled away pushing his shopping cart down the
As night had fallen so had the temperature. Old Jake found his way into the city park and maneuvered his shopping cart behind a wooden bench. The only items in Old Jake’s cart were a tattered blue blanket and one of those tourist cedar boxes with a picture of Myrtle Beach pasted on the top. The box didn't have a lock but it was tied shut by a piece of old string. Old Jake reached down and caressed the wooden box. Then almost reverently he picked it up and set it on the bench.
Next, Old Jake took the blanket out of his cart. He wrapped it around his bone- thin body and picked up his box. Old Jake lay down on the park bench and curled himself around the box . He lay there shivering until he finally drifted off to sleep.
As he lay there sleeping on the cold park bench the icy wind swooped down and grabbed Old Jake’s blanket. The arctic blast unfurled the blanket and sailed away with it across the park. A solitary soft white snowflake drifted down and settled on the box wrapped in Old Jake’s arms. It was soon followed by dozens more until Old Jake was once again covered by a blanket, only this one was white.
Old Jake never woke up. He was curled around his Myrtle Beach box dreaming. In Jake’s dream it was a crisp winter night. Jake and Edna were walking in the snow. Edna loved the snow. It made her happy. She was beautiful that night. The winter wind had painted roses on her cheeks and her eyes sparkled just like the diamond on the ring Jake carried in his pocket. He dreamed of that night when he’d asked Edna to be his bride and they‘d danced outside together as the snowflakes fell from the sky all around them.
None of the sorrow of the later years touched Jake’s sacred dream. Not the pain of his inability to conceive a child with his beloved Edna. Nor the heartbreak that came when they’d lost the farm and had to move to the city and find work in a factory. He didn’t dream of losing his factory job or when he and Edna were evicted from their apartment and began living on the streets. Nor did he dream of the raw grief that tore his heart out when Edna became sick and died. He didn’t dream about the generosity of a local church who paid to have Edna’s remains cremated .
The wind whipped up again and like a thief stole Old Jake’s box from his hands. The box clattered on the sidewalk and broke open .Edna’s ashes were set free from the box and at the same moment Jake‘s spirit broke free from his tired-worn body. For a moment Jake’s spirit swirled and danced in the snowflakes with Edna’s mortal remains dancing beside him. Suddenly the beauty of the snow-laden night was overwhelmed by the glorious radiance of the Lamb. Jesus Himself, stood waiting to greet Jake and welcome him into eternity. Standing right behind Jesus was a beautiful smiling young woman with winter-painted roses on her cheeks, diamonds in her eyes and snowflakes in her hair.
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