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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Junk Food (08/30/12)

TITLE: Tara's Bag of Skittles
By Sharon Henderson
09/05/12


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Little fingers bounced along the clear lids of plastic containers filled with “special” treats. M&M’s, Skittles, chocolate chip cookies, Cheese Doodles, and more. Four-year-old Tara carefully looked in each one.
 
Which kind will they like the best?

“Tara! Hurry, let’s go!”

The Skittles would have to do.

“I’m coming Dad.”

Spending the day with her Dad, Tara knew what she had to do.

First up was the thrift store. Tara jumped out of the Hummer, nearly toppling to the gravel as her foot brushed the running board. Undeterred, she rushed into the store, heading straight for the used kitchen appliances.

“Daddy! Come here, quick!”

Waiting for Dad to catch up, she glanced from shelf to shelf, looking for the perfect place. Wondering what they would think. Would they be happy? Would they enjoy? HOW would they enjoy?

“Daddy? Do you think this spot between this old pot and that yucky toaster would be a good place?

“For what, Tara?”

“For the Skittles, Daddy! For the Skittles!”

“Now, why would you do that? Come on, let’s go. I’ve left the clothes you outgrew with the lady upfront. Some little girl just like you will sure look cute in them.”

Tara’s disappointed eyes followed the floor tiles all the way to the front door.

Why didn’t Daddy let me give them some Skittles. Hmmph!

“Is the salvage yard next, Daddy?”

“Sure is sweetie. Daddy won’t be long. It’s hot outside so you stay in the truck with the AC and listen to Disney Radio.”

No way! I’m getting out! I need to do this and do it right!

“Daddy?”

“Uh-huh?”

“I can get out if I really want to, right? Please?”

“We’ll see.”

Satisfaction spread across the eyes that had been disappointed a few minutes ago. Wide-eyed wonder took over when she saw the stacks of old tires, mounds of hubcaps, and more crumpled cars than she could have imagined.

The hubcap pile! Perfect place.

As Dad chatted with the attendant, Tara dashed to the hubcaps.  The one with the funny looking T smiling at her reminded her of the wheels on Mommy’s Camry.

“There you are! I’m ready to go. Get in the truck.”

“But, Daddy! I still need to know where to put the Skittles! Do you think right here by the smiling T on this one would be a good place?”

“Tara, I don’t know what you are up to but take your bag of Skittles and get back in the truck. Now!”

Her favorite Maroon 5 song was blaring on the radio yet Tara couldn’t muster any enthusiasm to sing along. This day did not turn out as she planned.

I just wanted to do the right thing. To share. Teacher said in Sunday School that we have to feed those that don’t have food. I don’t know how it would have worked but I tried. Daddy was mean. Doesn’t he like them?

“Why the long face? And what are you doing with Skittles?” Her Mom surprised her when she opened the door. Tara didn’t realize they had made it home yet.

“Mommy, I’m sad. I tried to be good. I tried to do the right thing but Daddy didn’t let me.” Her pout was so dramatic that Mom almost snickered at this overreaction to something obviously important to little Tara.

“What didn’t Daddy let you do?” She swept Tara out of the truck, swung her around to her hip, and looked her square in the eyes searching for the cause of her daughter’s sadness.

“We went to the Thrift Store and I couldn’t give the toaster and pot my bag of Skittles. Then we sent to the old car place and I couldn’t give them to the hubcaps. Why not, Mommy? Why not?”

“Sweetie, the question is 'Why'?”

“Mommy, ‘cause my Sunday School teacher said to share with those that don’t have. And you said that all the Thrift Store and car place has is junk. And you don’t let me eat junk food so I simply wanted to give the junk some of its own food.”

Muffling a chuckle and hiding her own smile, Mom let Tara know what she did was kind. With Mom’s permission, Tara ate the bag of Skittles she tried so hard to give away.


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This article has been read 311 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca09/07/12
I like that: giving the junk some of its own food. Nice suspense built up with this, and quite a different take on the topic.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/08/12
This is positively adorable. I immediately fell in love with little Tara. You built the suspense like a master. I figured she wanted to help the needy but didn't see that ending coming at all. That doesn't happen to me very often and what a wonderful delight it was!

You've done a nice job of trying to do more showing then telling. When you got to Mommy, you had a slight POV shift with this sentence--Her pout was so dramatic that Mom almost snickered... Since the story is told through Tara's eyes, the reader can only know what Tara knows. Instead show what Mommy did with something like-- Tara crossed her arms and stuck out her lower lip. While helping her with her coat, Mommy covered her mouth with the side her arm. Or something like that to show the reader that Tara is pouting and Mom is reacting to it.

But for most of the story, you did an outstanding job of helping the reader see a picture of the antics of Tara. I so enjoyed this. It has so many good lessons. Of course the obvious about sharing and helping others is there. But you also managed the subtle message of parents needing to be careful what they say around kids. Not only do they hear just about everything, they tend to be quite literal in their translation. You did a marvelous job and this is definitely one of my favorites this week. I really loved it!
lynn gipson 09/12/12
I absolutely love this! Tara reminds me of my youngest grand daughter. Thanks for sharing this precious story.. excellent!
Deborah Engle 09/12/12
A creative take on the topic, and effectively done.

The only thing that slowed me down was the use of the word simply.

"so I simply wanted to give the junk some of its own food."

This seemed to be quite a small child, and I wonder if such a little one would use that word. My kids would have said, "just".

Other than that, I enjoyed the whole thing. Well done.
Camille (C D) Swanson 09/13/12
Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless~