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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)

TITLE: Not an Ordinary Picnic


It was going to be another picnic with Jim, Ellen’s fiancé, and that was more than enough for Ellen; however, plans for this picnic seemed hazy because Jim said that he would have to leave early and he didn’t say why. Ellen had been going with Jim for over six months and they were getting along fine and seldom wanted to do anything unless going together. That is why she was concerned. Jim had never been so evasive before and that made her feel anxious.

Ellen arrived at the picnic park site around 11 in the morning. The air was fresh and still cool. She placed some of her items on the picnic table, sat down and looked around at the area. She loved this park because it had so many wonderful memories; being here with her mom and dad, sister Julia and brother Alex. As she looked at the beautiful elm tress, bushes and wild flowers she also remembered happy times with Jim. This was one of their favorite spots and many hours they strolled together talking about their plans for the future.

She checked her watch and saw that it now was 11:15. She began to worry.Jim was always on time; in fact he was always kidding her that she was always late. What should she do? Should she call him, or just wait a bit longer? She decided to wait. As she sat there waiting, she noticed a figure about 40 feet away and it appeared to be either a very thin, tall man or a thin and tall young women. She couldn’t quite tell; the person was too far away.

Just as she was ready to go back to her car, she saw Jim pull up in his blue Toyota. She waved at him and signaled him to where she was.

“Hi! Sorry I’m late. Got held up in an emergency meeting at work and had to stay. Nice place for a picnic. Brought some beer, iced tea, and pretzels and I’ll bet you have the rest.”

“Yes. I’ve got everything ready. Let’s eat! I’m starved and I’ll bet you are too.”

Just as Ellen began pulling out more of her picnic menu for the day which included potato salad, lunchmeat sandwiches, baked beans and apple pie, the object—she now saw that it was a young man—approached their table.

“Hello. Sorry to barge in on your picnic but could you spare maybe just a sandwich? I lost my job two days ago and I’ve not had anything to eat.”

Ellen and Jim noticed that he looked tired and worn out and his clothes looked like they had been work for more than two days.

Normally, Ellen and Jim were weary of strangers; especially when they appeared in a park but he looked so lost and forlorn that Ellen decided to make the first move after getting a “go ahead look” from Jim.

“Well, we don’t know you but as Christians, we are told to help another when we can. Here, have a sandwich, a piece of pie and some iced tea.”

They all had a wonderful picnic, shared their faith and Ellen found out later that he did lose his job, lost his wife and came close to ending his life. Weeks later he found a good job at a local newspaper and she and Jim felt good what they did that day.

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This article has been read 295 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 07/13/12
Touching, and such an important message. Jesus' words ring out with this entry: "for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in..." Matthew 25:35.

Great message and great job. Thank you. God Bless~
Mildred Sheldon07/14/12
You wrote a wonderful story of what we as God's children should do. I thoroughly enjoyed this entry.
Myrna Noyes07/15/12
Touching, inspiring story that is an encouragement to reach out to bless others whenever we are able.

(Note: There were a few "mechanical" errors that some extra proofreading would catch.)

Thank you for sharing this!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/17/12
This is a sweet story. You did a nice job of establishing the conflicts right away. First I wondered if she was being stood up and then you threw in the mysterious stranger to add more suspense. Nicely done, it made me want to keep reading.

I noticed a couple of little typos like work instead of worn and women instead of woman.

The ending felt a bit rushed. I'm sure a lot of that was because of the word count. There are a couple of things you could have done to avoid that rushed feeling. One would be to simply end it after she gives him the food. The other thing would be to edit some of the descriptions about the park and her memories. They are nice but the main conflict is the man so being able to have some extra words to show what happened to him would make this good story even better.

You did a nice job of writing on topic and you presented a wonderful message without it coming off as too preachy. This is something that many of us now seem to forget. There was a man who came to our church once looking to borrow money for a bus trip home. It happened during Sunday School and one of the teachers sent him away quite rudely. However, my son's teacher took him to bus stop paid for his ticket and gave him some food. What a great example he was to the kids. About a week later he received a check from the man for double the cost of the bus ticket. Your story shows that same lesson and I think we do need to think what would Jesus want us to do.