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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Cup - 10-25-12 Deadline (10/18/12)

TITLE: Memories in a Cup
By Terry Atchison


Isn’t it interesting how a normal, everyday object can become dear to us? A thing that we save as a souvenir can spark our mind into “memory mode” and conjure up past times and events that are so close to our hearts.

Sitting at my desk, looking out on a beautiful, natural fresco of reds, golds, and yellows, I lift my trusty coffee cup and enjoy the warmth of the brew on my lips. The coffee cup was a birthday present from the nurses at the small hospital where I worked. The top half is white and the bottom half is orange. There is a turquoise office chair in the orange half. “Some days, the best thing about my job is that the chair spins”, is printed on the white top half. Amen to that! Being a Telemetry Tech and Unit Secretary, I can relate!

But now I am retired and the job stress is gone. Still remembered, but gone. Many events relive in my mind. Some are funny, some are sad. Jennifer was a nurse who was afraid of ghosts. There were some abandoned rooms in one of the wings, in which people reported seeing strange apparitions, ghosts, and weird sounds. When Jennifer worked nights, one of the nurses would go to one of the abandoned rooms and telephone her. Jen wouldn’t even pick up the receiver when she saw the room number on the caller ID. We would all be telling her to answer her phone, but she wouldn’t budge. She was sure it was a ghost that was calling her!

Another sip, another memory comes to mind. Tim was a new CNA, nineteen years old, with one week of experience in a hospital environment. A terminally ill patient was receiving hospice care and her vitals were taken every four hours. Her family had been in and out of her room all evening. Tim started his shift and went to her room to take her vitals. A couple of minutes later, he came out of her room, eyes wide, and calling for help. When Tim had started pumping up the patient’s blood pressure cuff, he said that she opened her eyes, made a big sigh, and then stopped breathing. Code Blue was called, but to no avail. The patient passed. She was the first deceased person that Tim had ever seen. It took us all a bit of time to convince him that he had not been the cause of her death.

I watch three deer pass through the trees as I drink another sip. Then there was Maggie. Maggie was the “sour note” of the night shift. She was an older nurse who never seemed happy with people, protocol, patients, or anything that was living. No one chose to like her. I didn’t mention that I was also a Massage Therapist. During those twelve-hour night shifts, the nurses would ask me to massage their backs, necks, and arms while they wrote their nurse’s notes. I was more than glad to give them this service, if work permitted. Maggie would always ask me when I would massage her, and I always replied “When I get around to it.” Night after night she would pose the same question and I would give the same response: “When I get around to it.”

One night, Maggie came up behind me and asked me when I would massage her. I gave her my usual response, “When I get around to it.”

“There! You have it. Now will I get my massage?” She was smiling at me.

Maggie had placed a disc of cardboard on my desk. On it was written “TO IT”. She got her massage, and from that day on, we were friends.

Please excuse me now. I’m taking my chair for a spin.

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This article has been read 397 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 10/25/12
Cute contemporary and clever entry! I really enjoyed it.
Thanks - loved the ending.

God bless~
darlene thompson10/25/12
Enjoyed the walk down memory. Well written. Great job. Thank you.
Marie Hearty 10/28/12
A cute and very unique story. Good job.

God bless!
Myrna Noyes10/29/12
I enjoyed how each sip from the coffee cup brought another interesting memory to mind! And the ending was just great! :D Nice job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/12
This is really cute. It brought back many memories for me as I used to be an RN. I've had health problems too and have been hospitalized in the hospital where I worked. I had terrible nightmares and would scream freaking out any night nurse who didn't know about the terrors that plagued me. The memory came rushing back when you mentioned the nurse who thought the rooms were haunted. I would have given the poor thing a heart attack. :)

My only suggestion might be to take one memory (the grumpy nurse) and expand it. Give the reader a picture in her mind and add dialog from the grumpy nurse. I really wanted to know more about her.

It is true how the strangest things can bring memories pouring back. I like the message on your cup and the last line brought the story full-circle. Keep writing; you have a knack for storytelling and I bet there are many memories that would make a great foundation for devotions or even fiction. Just change the memory around and add details. Some have a hard time doing that because it feels like lying but I always think of the Little House Books. Many of the events happened but she obviously couldn't remember exact dialog and details but her expanded memories are now a treasured classic. Nice job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/03/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level two!