Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bon Voyage (09/05/05)
TITLE: Don't Leave The Yard!
By Lisa Graham
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“No,” Mom smiled. “Tonight, we’re having meatloaf and English peas.”
“English peas?” His nose wrinkled in disgust. “Ugh! I hate English Peas!” He tramped off to his room in a huff.
Throwing himself on the bed, he punched his Spiderman pillow. Mom always made him eat most of his dinner if he wanted dessert, so, when she wasn’t looking, he’d toss yucky stuff, like cauliflower and carrots, to his dog, Gruff, who happily wolfed down the evidence. But English peas were a pain – they were hard to eat and tasted gross. Gruff wouldn’t eat them, so, he’d have to stir the little green eggs around his plate, to make it look like he’d eaten a few.
The afternoon yawned and stretched before him. He dreaded dinner and there was nothing to do. He switched Batman’s and Superman’s capes. They looked dorky, so, he switched them back. He couldn’t race Matchbox cars because Gruff had chewed off the tires. He bounced a basketball eleven times before Mom yelled for him to stop. Sigh! He was bored, bored, BORED!
Billy wanted him to come over, but Johnny had been told not to leave the yard.
Planting his ear against the wall dividing his bedroom from his sister’s, Johnny groaned when he heard a familiar sound . . . she was practicing the piano again!
She played “Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star” endlessly. When she struck a bad note, she’d bang on every key searching for the right one, which sounded like the little star was tumbling to the earth with a crash. If that wasn’t bad enough, her singing sounded like a yowling cat.
It was too much! Then, he had an idea. It would take sneaky spy movements, but he’d learned a lot from action hero cartoons.
His sister’s back was to the door when he crept into her room. She pounded the upright piano with gusto.
Suddenly, she spun around on the stool. “Freeze, Nerd!”
He froze, as ordered, but stood his ground. “You’re supposed to be practicing, Goon.”
“You’re distracting me,” she said, smacking her gum. “Get outta my closet . . . why are you getting the suitcase out?”
“None of your business.”
“I’ll tell Mom.”
“Yeah, and I’ll tell her you called a boy on the phone last week.”
As she considered the threat, a voice rang from the kitchen. “I don’t hear the piano!”
Grabbing the suitcase, he made a fast getaway to his room, where he packed his teddy bear, Batman and a Matchbox. He snapped the case shut and sneaked, without detection, through the house . . . but a squeaky door betrayed him.
“Are you planning a trip?” His mother pointed at the suitcase.
“Where are you going?”
Drawing himself up to his full height of three feet, he announced, “I’m going to Grandma’s house. SHE lets me eat all the ice cream I want . . . and SHE hates English Peas, too!”
Her response surprised him. Planting a kiss on his forehead, she said, “Well, I’ll see you later . . . Bon Voyage!”
“What’s that mean?”
“It means have a good trip . . . hug Grandma for me.”
He was confused, but still determined. The screened door slammed behind him.
Watching her son striding purposefully across the yard, she thought of the parable of the Prodigal Son, and felt a twinge in her heart.
Johnny headed in the direction of Grandma’s house. His sister would get English peas for dinner . . . he’d have ice cream instead!
Cars roared past with radios blaring. In the distance, a siren wailed. The edge of the yard suddenly loomed at him. He stopped, looked around, and then dropped to his knees. The suitcase fell to the grass.
From the doorway, his mother observed his movements. A smiled curved around her lips as a thought occurred to her. “Johnny remembered that he’s not allowed to leave the yard.”
God wants us to do His will, but, when we’re tempted, He gently nudges us by saying to our heart, “This is where I’ve chosen for you to be . . . you’re safe here . . . so, don’t leave the yard!”
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