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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Bloom (11/22/12)

TITLE: Old Maids
By Darleen Coon


Yawning, she opened up the curtain and gazed at the blooming orchard. Suddenly, her eyes widened and she put her hands over her mouth. She twirled around, and raced across the hall. “Sue, Gram’s tree is blooming.” She shook her sister.

“Wha, waz goin on?” Sue half sat up and rubbed her eyes.

Beth put her face in front of Sue’s and bellowed, “Gram’s tree is blooming! That’s what’s going on!”

Shaking her head, Sue jumped out of bed and scurried across the hall. “Wow, would you look at that.”She grinned from ear to ear. “It hasn’t budded in five years and now it’s just loaded with blossoms!”

They both just stared at the tree until their mom yelled up the steps. “Breakfast, girls!”

Beth leaned over, putting her lips next to Sue’s ear. “We can’t let mom know that we plan to….” Sue elbowed her sister in the ribs when Mom started to climb the steps.

All spring and into the summer, they anxiously watched as the blooms changed into little green balls and then, finally, into ripe, beautiful apples.

Then, one evening in September, Mom asked, “Girls, are you ready to start picking the apples tomorrow?”

“Absolutely! We’ll be there with bells on.” Beth grinned and winked at Sue.

Together they took turns climbing the ladder and gently placing the luscious- looking apples into the basket. Glancing around to make sure no one was looking, they hid the apples from Gram’s tree in an old root cellar.

That night, they sat on Sue’s bed, with the covers over their heads, making plans for their special apples.

“I’m giving one to Billy, Colt, and maybe Brad.” Beth held up her fingers while she ticked off the names of the apple recipients. “Who are you giving yours to? “

Sue bit her lip. “Um, I don’t know yet.”

“Well, you better figure it out pretty quick. You just don’t know when or if the tree will ever bloom again.” She shook her finger in Sue’s face.

Before getting on the school bus the next day, they crept out to the root cellar to fill their bags with apples.

Beth plopped down on the seat, causing Billy to look up with wide eyes. She handed him an apple, and leaned over to whisper in his ear. “I have a special apple just for you.”

In class, Beth turned in her seat and grinned while handing Brad an apple, “Hey, Brad, I had an extra apple in my lunch, ya want it?”

Then, in the cafeteria, she sat down across from Colt, “Hi there.” she batted her eyelashes, “I have an apple here with your name on it.”

Sue saw Ethan sitting alone at recess, so she shuffled over to where he sat. “Um, hi, um would you like an apple?” She held it out to him.

“Thanks, Mom forgot to pack my lunch today, so I was hungry.” He bit into the apple and chewed. “Mmmm, this is very good. What kinda apple is it?”

“Um, I don’t know.”

“Well, thanks again,” he said over his shoulder as he walked away.

Their mom was waiting at the bus stop for them. “Hi. I had an interesting call today from the school nurse. It seems that she had a number of young men in her office today who were sick after eating apples.” She paused, raised her left eyebrow and glared at the girls. “I told her it couldn’t be our apples since we just picked them yesterday and haven’t had a chance to wash off the pesticide.”

Sue swallowed hard, slumped her shoulders, and looked down to the ground. “We heard you talking to Rose about how Gram’s apple tree had special powers. Gram gave one of the apples to Gramps and they were madly in love for 50 years. Then, you gave one to Dad and he loved you until he died in the accident. We don’t want to be old maids. So we thought we’d better give out the apples now, because we don’t know if the tree would bloom again anytime soon.”

“Oh, my sweethearts.” She gathered them into her arms. “That is just an old wife’s tale. You can’t put your trust in an ancient tree. You need to put your trust in God, who will provide you with the perfect guy when the time is right.”

Muffled against her mom’s shoulder, Sue giggled, “I hope He thinks Brad is the perfect guy for me.”

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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Christina Banks 11/30/12
Too funny. I love how their little plan backfired. What a great lesson packed in a delightful little story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/02/12
I truly am delighted by this story. You did a wonderful job of creating a sense of mystery that propels the reader to continue reading. Your characters are a hoot and you did a nice job of building them in such a short amount of words. It's a great take on the topic yet it is still creative and fresh. It is funny how kids can hear things in their own special way. Once I was explaining to my daughter how I was sick with a chronic illness. Worried she asked me if I was going to die. Reassuring her I told her that you die when you get very sick and the doctors can't help you get better. Well weeks passed and one day she had a fever of 103 and asked me if she was sick. I replied that she was very sick and suddenly I had a 5 yo sobbing and screaming I don't want to die. It took me a minute but then I realized why she was so upset. Your story took me back to that age of innocence when adults need to watch every word around kids. You did a fabulous job on this story and it was a "delicious" read!
C D Swanson 12/04/12
This will have an impact on those who read it as the message it conveyed is one that is well worth telling.
Nicely done. Thanks.
God bless~
C D Swanson 12/06/12
Congrats! God bless~