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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: News From a Far Country
By Fern Brown


News from a Far Country

“I received important mail today,” Glen told Sandy. The year was 1969. Her heart landed in her stomach as her boyfriend presented his draft notice.

“Return it to Sender,” she jokingly pleaded, knowing that was not an honorable option.

"Hey, Sweetheart, we have three weeks to enjoy together before I leave. Don't get long-faced on me," he said, as a quivering smile tugged at the corner of her lips. "I'll write you every day."

As Sandy walked home from work in the blustery weather, her long blond hair wrapped around her head, protecting her face from the stingy mixture of rain and snow. The winter chill thrilled her, because it meant Glen would get a leave from the army soon.

“It’s cold out there but I love it!” Thumbing through the mail, Sandy rambled on. "Mother, I think everyone in town called long distance today. The switchboard was lit up like a Christmas tree. My ear feels ready to drop off,” she laughed.

“Here it is – another love letter to add to my collection,” she smiled, sauntering to her room to read tender words privately. Holding the envelope to her nose, she inhaled the faint fragrance of his special cologne.

Returning beautified and refreshed, she said hopefully, “Maybe Glen will make it home today.”

Mother’s eyebrows lifted. "Do you expect him tonight?”

"Not really, but he’s hoping for a Christmas break after boot camp, and it ended yesterday." Chattering non-stop, they clattered and banged pots and pans, preparing the evening meal. Entering the living room to announce supper was ready, Sandy wondered, "Who’s at the door?"

"Come, in, come in," Dad said. "I think we're about ready to eat." The young man removed his hat as Dad spoke.

Sandy squealed, “Glen, you are home! I’m so happy to see you, Sweetheart. How handsome you are in uniform!” She whistled.

“Sandy, I’m glad to see you smile again,” Dad teased.

After supper, the two young lovers remained in the drafty kitchen, laughing, talking and gazing into each other’s dreamy, star-filled eyes.

“I phoned your Dad last week, Sandy,” Glen paused, struggling to pull something from his pants’ pocket. “Maybe this will fit your finger better than it does my pocket.”

Kneeling on the cold kitchen floor, he opened the small box containing a blue sapphire and diamond ring. “I love you and we need to start making plans for our future together. Will you marry me, Sandy?”

“How beautiful! The sapphire is the same color as your eyes. Thank you, Glen. I mean, yes, I will be honored to marry you, my Love!”

Dad grabbed the camera to snap a picture of the proposal, saying, “We knew about this, so we aren’t eavesdropping much – just enough to preserve the memory.”

The four of them relaxed in front of the crackling fireplace, planning for a wedding after Glen’s tour of duty was finished. At midnight Glen announced, “Sandy, I won’t see you for several months, because tomorrow I leave for Korea. I’m telling you now because I didn’t want to spoil our special evening with tears.”

Letters accumulated daily for many weeks. Glen wrote, “We’re close to the demilitarized zone, and sometimes can see gunshots exploding in the night skies. God watches over us, but it’s comforting to know you pray!”

One, two, then three weeks passed with no further news from Glen. Sandy prayed fervently for his protection. Finally a letter came.

“Honey, I’m sorry I haven’t written, but all of us guys have been playing basketball every evening.”

“What! What? Basketball?” Snatching pen and paper, she wrote furiously.

With a dreamy smile on his face, Glen opened her letter expecting sweet words of love. It began, “Dear John…”

“Dear John? I’m Glen – is this someone else’s mail?” He read further, “Basketball? You played basketball while I prayed that you wouldn’t get your head blown off? … Well … ‘Dear John’…”

“A ‘Dear John’ letter? Because I worried her… Oh, dear God, I can’t lose her.”

His buddy burst into the barracks, letter in hand. “This is addressed to me, but says, ‘Attention, Glen.’”

Recognizing the handwriting, he apprehensively began reading, “Dear Glen, You are my hero forever. I know you’ll NEVER worry me like that again. You ARE my knight in shining armor…”

A relieved smile tugged at the corner of his lips.

KJV Proverbs 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

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This article has been read 346 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Sullivan 10/28/10
A very clever ending to a wonderful love story. Good job!
Brenda Rice 10/29/10
This is so cute and clever. I enjoyed it very much.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/10
This was great. I laughed at the ending although there may be a girl or two who would write a Dear John letter in this case. However, I just couldn't see your character doing it. Thanks for the double surprise ending!
Jan Ackerson 10/31/10
Ouch! What a way to learn a lesson!

I could be wrong, but I think he'd be going to Vietnam rather than Korea in 1969.

I winced along with Glen on reading the letter--these two are going to have a feisty relationship, I think!
Scarlett Farr11/01/10
That had me feeling anxious til the end! Cute story.
Mildred Sheldon11/02/10
What a letter. I loved how Sandy handled the situation. Very clever and a precious ending.