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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Embarrassment (01/12/12)

TITLE: First Funeral
By Martha Black


The small house was filled with a crush of people, all here for a common reason, to honor Sherriff Bobby Murphy. Bobby had been a fixture in Langford for thirty years, and the town mourned his death. There was hardly a person in town that Bobby had not helped: getting a cat out of a tree, catching egg throwing vandals or ticketing big city folk who tried roaring through his pastoral little town.

This was the first funeral for Langford’s new Baptist minister, Larry Barnes. He had only been in town for three weeks, and this was an excellent chance for him to meet more people than he would have had an opportunity to meet in many months. The funeral had gone well; his word of comfort still echoed in his ears.

As was common in most small towns, everyone pitched in to lay out an incredible spread of food. This was an individual and combined method of expressing respect for the deceased and comforting the loved one left behind by death. Larry filled his plate and mingled as he slowly ate his food.

People packed the house and spilled out into the yard under the spreading oak trees. Most of the townsfolk didn’t yet know him, and he hoped to make a good impression on them. As he moved from one group of people to the next, they regaled him with stories about Bobby. Larry began to feel like he had really knew this highly regarded man.

Larry worked his way back into the house looking for Connie, Bobby’s wife. When he found her, tears glistened in her eyes as she listened to Marijo Jensen telling her how Bobby had saved her son’s life one winter when he fell through the ice.

Connie turned and saw Larry as he came to give her a comforting hug. “Would you like to talk?” he asked her, though looking around he saw no place for a quiet visit. Connie took his hand and led him into the bathroom.

Connie perched on the edge of the pedestal tub, and with a sweep of her hand, she lowered the commode lid and offered him a seat there.

“Bro. Larry, I’m going to miss my Bobby dreadfully. We’ve been married for 35 years, and since we had no children, we were everything to each other.”

This was Larry’s first opportunity to counsel an individual enduring a real crisis, and he wanted to make it count. He shared his heart for fifteen minutes, calling upon the comfort of the Lord to comfort Connie.

“I cannot tell you how much you have touched my heart. But I do believe that I must go back out to my guests.”

She stood to her feet and reached for the door. As she opened it, habit overcame Larry’s desire to make a good impression, and his hand pushed down on the handle sending the flushing sound throughout the house…

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This article has been read 344 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Mull 01/19/12
Very well done. This kept me in suspense, wondering where the embarrassment was going to enter the picture.
C D Swanson 01/19/12
Beautiful job of keeping the reader in suspense, wondering. Nicely written, and the ending said it all. Good job! God Bless~
Ruth Tredway 01/19/12
Small town living at its best. Nice story, and the ending is just right.
Nancy Bucca01/21/12
Ahh, embarrassment left to the very end. I was wondering when you'd bring it in. Nice job.
Cynthia Carter01/22/12
This was a very good read with very good descriptions.
Linda Goergen01/22/12
Great story, very believable...and as the toilet flushed you could imagine Pastor Larry’s face flushing as well! Enjoyed this read!
Brenda Rice 01/22/12
You pulled me in to the story and kept me all the way to the flush. I never saw it coming. Good job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/26/12
This is a cute story. My son is planning on becoming a minister and funerals really scare him. Nice job of setting up the story. Congratulations for ranking 7th in level two!