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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)

TITLE: Too Late to Say?
By Donnah Cole


"What'er you boys doin' in my cornfield?"

Tucker and Connor jumped.

"Uhhhh...we, uhhhh...hit our baseball in here, Mister."

"Pffft. Hurry up and git out of here. Don't you see the tractors over there? If they make it over here before you find that ball, why...you'll be chopped up with the silage." The farmer spat at a stalk.

"Sure, mister." The boys began to push their way through the maze.

"Hey! Don't be stomping on them stalks!"

"Sorry, Mist-"

"My name's Weaver. Here...do it like this."

He crouched his tall frame to the dampened earth and pushed five stalks away with gentleness.

The freckle-faced boy furrowed his brow. "Oh-h-h...I see." With his knees pressed into the mud, he peered through the labyrinth. His hefty friend joined the search and continued their interrupted conversation.

"Anyways, Tucker...I bet my daddy tells my mama more..."

"No way Connor! Mine does..."

"Shoot! I'll betcha 5 bucks!"

Tucker glanced at the farmer. "How 'bout you, Mr. Weaver? Do you tell your wife that you love 'er?"

"Naaaah - I don't have to. She knows it."

Connor gave a fleeting look towards him. "How does she know it?"

"She just does..."

"Do you give her flowers or sump-in like 'at?"

Perturbed, Mr. Weaver leveled his eyes on the youngsters. "Boys...it's like this - " He stood and slapped his hands against his trousers. "See them cows?"


"I take care of 'em. They can count on me."

Baffled, the boys probed further.

"What's that gotta do with the Mrs.? Are you saying she's a cow?"

"Sppfttt-" Connor slapped his hand over Tucker's mouth.

"Naw! You know...she can count on me. I provide for her. It's that simple. She knows how I feel."

Giggles broke the tension as Tucker gathered the courage to speak. "I don't mean to offend, Mister, but...I think...you can't say it!"

"Say what?"

"I love you."

"Pfft...I told ja', I don't have to tell her."

"I bet she'd like to hear it."

"It's too late, boy."

"Well, when I grow up, I'm gonna tell my wife every day that I love her so she'll always know for shur-"

"Here it is!" Connor's fingers clutched the baseball, and the two ran away waving goodbye to Mr. Weaver.


The sun bore down on the farmer, but he didn't notice. He was too busy pondering the younsters' taunts.

You can't say it...

Compelled by guilt, he switched off his John Deere and walked to her flower garden. There it was...her favorite, the butterfly bush. Lilac blooms covered it, providing a stage for hundreds of butterflies to dance a delicate ballet. He began to break off the beauties. One...four ...as many as his arms could hold.

Clouds concealed the sun's rays as Weaver traversed through the woodland. Crossing the creek, he climbed the knoll to their meeting place.

I must say it.

As expected, she was there. He reached out to her and laid down the flowers.

"Mae, I brot' you these from that butterfly bush."

He shuffled his boots and cleared his throat. "Anyways...It's been a long time since you've heard me say what I'm gonna say to you now. I just wish I hadn't waited so long to tell you."

He wiped the sweat from his brow.

"Mae...I love you."

His body began to shake as tears cascaded down his leathery face. He hadn't cried in years.

He hadn't even cried when she'd died.

But, now, he was inconsolable. He fell upon the hardened ground, clutching the dirt between his fingers.

"Oh, my sweet Mae...please forgive me. I should've told you every day. I always thought it...but I should've said it."

Inspired to ignore strong beliefs on how he should repress emotions, he stood and shouted,


His voice was carried on a breeze towards the heavens, and the clouds shifted at its impact. A sunset of ethereal proportions mesmerized him, and he was only able to break from its beauty when a sweet-smelling fragrance tantalized his senses. He glanced toward her grave and movement caught his eye. A beautiful swallowtail fluttered over the flowers. It didn't land there though. Rather, it chose to light upon his outstretched fingers.

He lifted it up hoping to release it with a breeze, but it stayed - united with him as they observed the sunset together.

The clouds closed and hid the beauty beyond. The swallowtail took flight, brushed against his cheek, and Weaver preserved the memory in the recesses of his mind forever.

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This article has been read 984 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kathryn Wickward10/10/05
That was beautiful. Well written, a sure winner in my mind. Great characterization.
Aubrey Hall10/10/05
Very good dialogue...love the ending! I wouldn't be suprised to see a blue ribbon on this one. Well done!
Shannon Redmon10/10/05
I loved the boys in the cornfield teasing the farmer about his wife. Loved the ending-butterfly kisses are the best!

Amy Verlennich10/10/05
Really enjoyed reading this... especially the "surprise" that he was at his wife's grave... loved the curve (although sad... what an awesome reminder to us to tell our loved ones every day). Thanks and blessings, Amy
Gabrielle Morgan10/10/05
Very well done. Good believable characters with fitting dialogue. Good twist in the story to find the wife was dead. An important message to say what you feel before it is too late. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 10/11/05
This was beautifully written, and you have a real flair for both dialog and description. I'm not positive that young boys would really notice or care about how much their dads say "I love you," though. A minor detail; I really liked this story.
Alexandra Wilkin10/12/05
What a beautiful story. Bitter-sweet, uplifting...this is lovely, really lovely. Wonderful! God bless.
Melanie Kerr 10/13/05
The dialogue held my attention well, I could pciture the boys and the farmer. The twist, I thought he was neeting his wife with an armful of flowers. I cried too when he cried! Excellent writing.
Cassie Memmer10/13/05
I liked your characters and story very much. I might have stopped with the statement "He hadn't even cried when she died." But I liked the butterfly ending also, Hmmm... You did good!
Julianne Jones10/14/05
I enjoyed the story and the setting but wonder if the boys' dialogue is realistic. I have 5 boys and I can't imagine them having this kind of conversation with anyone. However, it is a lovely reminder to tell those closest to us that we love them. Keep writing.
J. C. Lamont10/14/05
I don't know how, but i knew she was dead. It just kind of had that tone. I agree with the other one about stopping at the "even when she had died". It makes for a very powerful story.
Garnet Miller 10/14/05
How often do we withhold our praise and love from those who would benefit from the hearing. We must give others their "flowers" while they are still alive! A very nice article:)
Val Clark10/15/05
A great sense of place. You really made me care about the farmer and how he felt. Too true that we often wait until it's too late to let people know how we feel.
Suzanne R10/15/05
The first part was really fun, and then it became so touching. You set the scene just beautifully. You write very well.
Linda Watson Owen10/15/05
A delightfully bittersweet read!
Debbie Sickler10/15/05
I agree with Jan's comment completly. Your dialog was writen well, but left me wondering why two young boys would be having that conversation in a corn field. Maybe if there was some info leading to it? Overall very well written. Good job!
Alexandra Wilkin10/17/05
Donnah - Congratulations! This was lovely, and earned its 1st place and its Editors Choice place. God bless.
Deborah Porter 10/17/05
Congratulations Donnah - you are on a roll, and it's time to move up to Level 3. You are definitely ready for it.

I was judging for "Flowers," and when I read your entry, I wrote, "AWWWWW - what a winner! This was near perfect - humorous, heartwarming and well told."

Donnah, you have a gift with story-telling. Keep honing that skill and I know you'll continue to go from strength to strength.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Karen Treharne10/17/05
Congratulations, Donnah for your win. I loved the surprise ending and thought your dialog was well written. A feel-good story with a message we all need to hear. Love in His name, Karen
janet rubin10/18/05
What a great read. Hmmm.. I'm not sure if I want you up in advanced though - the competition is already tuff enuff! LOL.