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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: The Richest Man In the World
By Ada Nett


There had been a small earthquake the day before he died. It seemed appropriate since his leaving would shatter her heart. He'd said the words that needed to be said. He'd taught her how to live her life yet, she felt adrift, like the anchor that had held her steady was suddenly gone and she was left in a swirling a life of uncertainty... alone. She reached around her neck and unclasped the necklace. Written in sterling silver, the words faith, hope and love dangled from the chain.
The mortician had tried but couldn't entirely clean away the grease that years of hard dirty work had tattooed beneath her father's nails. She was glad the grease remained. It was so much a part of the kind of man he'd been. He'd possessed the heart of an inventor and he had an innate ability to repair things that were broken, even hearts. His words could heal and his wise advice prevent more heartbreak if one cared to heed it. She'd watched those hands take apart pieces of machinery into a multitude pieces and put them all back together again. If the machine still didn't start he'd take it all back apart and start all over, never losing his patience, studying each piece intently to figure out what the problem was. That's how he looked as the life as well and how he could get to the heart of an issue pulling it apart piece by piece until he found the root of the problem then he'd help her figure out how to solve it.

His final project had been an old riding lawn mower. Even though the cancer was raging and ravaging through his body he didn't give up, piece by tedious piece, he put the mower back together in working order. He was tough. Most men in his condition would have been in the hospital. Not him. Refusing expensive medical treatment that he knew would only prolong the inevitable, he saved what little money and property he had for those he loved. He self-medicated the pain of cancer with over-the-counter ibuprofen and continued working and sacrificing up until the very end. The mower was the last gift he'd ever given her. It was more precious to her than a brand new piece of equipment could ever be and mowing her property became an act of remembrance, a tribute to the man who taught her to never give up.

She reached down and lay her hand on her father's shoulder. The touch took her back to her earliest awareness of life, a deep memory of the sensation of being completely helpless yet protected as she was carried across this shoulder. It was her first tasted of trust and it settled deep in her soul.. The years passed, and as life would have it, there came people and circumstances that seriously threatened to destroy her ability to trust. They didn't destroy it, they couldn't for trust rooted itself much too deeply to be destroyed, as her father carried her across his strong shoulders.

Life has its lighter moments, lived out in sunshine and laughter but the genuine union of hearts , most often happens with hot tears in the valleys where storms rain pain. It was more than true in her life. And as the rain came down in deathly showers some of their loved ones left one by one and as they left the ones left behind became more open and transparent about the deep abiding love that graced them to the core. A sister, her mother and a nephew all left within a few short months of one another. Christmas became a time of revealing the deep emotions of the ones left behind.. When her daddy spoke all hearts were open, receiving his offering as the healing for their souls that it was. He would look around the room at his family say” This is what's important this is what really matters.” We are so fortunate to have what we have had in this life. The love we have shared is something no one can ever take away from us. We have each other and by golly, I'm the richest man in the world.”

As the sweet memories eased through the pain of loss , she reached down and opened the shirt pocket that lay over her daddy's heart. She slipped the necklace inside .

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This article has been read 561 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/04/12
This touched my heart and made me think of my "late beloved Daddy."

What a beautiful tribute to a strong loving man that was the "light" of the family. And, how loving carrying his little girl on his shoulders, beautiful.

I don't know if this is a true story, it sounds as if it is...if so, my condolences for your loss. But I rejoice that the Lord gave you such an amazing "earth daddy" and those treasures you hold so deep in your heart.

Thank you for this. I loved it. Beautiful!

God Bless~
Carol Welch05/04/12
You have a powerful way with words - very descriptive and provocative. You have captured the essence of the grieving heart with such compassion; and woven the story of an amazing and Godly life as a result.

I am touched.
Donna Wilcher05/05/12
This was absolutely lovely...every single word perfect and profound.

Superb work!

I think you've got a winner here!
Graham Insley05/06/12
A beautiful story told in a beautiful way.

I felt a closer proof reading of the fourth and fifth paragraphs would have revealed some simple mistakes and could have led to better word choices. An example would have been re-wording the 'over the shoulder' which from memory appeared three times in one paragraph; and the double period I noticed in one place.

Only small things however in an otherwise great job.
Laury Hubrich 05/06/12
You told a very good story. You have talent. You could try to stretch and retell the story in first person point of view and see how much it changes. The story will become so much stronger. You could tell it from the dad's or the daughter's POV. If you decide to do that, I would love to read it!

And like someone else said, make sure you proof and then have someone else proof it and then you proof it again. You don't want this awesome story marred by some silly mistakes. Awesome job!
Colin Swann05/06/12
A very good story that I very much enjoyed. Take note of the suggestions in the comments, as this story could be a winner, but very likely would have been without the minor corrections required. Hope it does well for you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/07/12
This is a beautiful tribute to a fine man. I could feel the love and grief as I read each word. The title is perfect.

Some of the sentences felt a tad stilted. To help the flow, try experimenting with different sentence structures. For example by changing this sentence -There had been a small earthquake the day before he died. a tad like this -

The earth trembled the day before he died, leaving his daughter with a shattered heart.

By combining the two sentences and using action words it helps the flow and gives the reader a vivid picture.

The ending was beautiful. I shivered a bit at the last line. You did a nice job staying on topic well reminding the reader to enjoy each moment with loved ones.
Mildred Sheldon05/09/12
What a tender heart warming entry. I truly enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing and God bless.
Amanda Brogan05/09/12
One of the greatest gifts in the world is to have parents who truly understand the importance of loving their family and teaching their children to trust and to love ... especially when that trust and love is centered on the God who gave us that beautiful gift.

What a lovely, bitter-sweet tribute to a wonderful man. I'm sure heaven is just a sparkle brighter with him there.

My favorite line was this:
Life has its lighter moments, lived out in sunshine and laughter but the genuine union of hearts , most often happens with hot tears in the valleys where storms rain pain.

It simply took my breath away! Such truth. Well done!
Hiram Claudio05/10/12
Congratulations on a wonderful piece and a well deserved 1st place finish. Welcome to Level 3!
Amanda Brogan05/10/12
Congratulations! This totally deserved 1st place. Your father would be very proud. :)
C D Swanson 05/10/12
Congratulations and God Bless~
Donna Wilcher05/10/12
Ha! I was right! You had a winner! Congratulations!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/14/12
Congratulations on your beautiful blue ribbon and for coming in 18th overall!