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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: "Do You Love Me?"
By Doris Smith


Myrtle sat down beside the old wooden frame around the well and thought for the umteenth time, “What is the measure of a woman? I am getting old and not so handsome anymore, yet my man still keeps me around.” She picked up the bucket of water and headed back into the log cabin. She leaned on the doorjamb as she lifted the heavy bucket up onto the scrubbed-clean wooden floor. Again she sat down to rest a few minutes before going up the second step into her house. She looked out into the field and saw her husband and son walking behind horses pulling plows. Such hard work and little to show for it at harvest time. She struggled into the house and lifted the bucket of water onto the table and began her meal preparation..

“What is the measure of a woman? Who decides the measure of a woman? My man said he fell in love with my auburn curly hair years ago. Now it is grey and dry as the dust in the road. My fingers are gnarled and my face has wrinkles that look like the cracks in the yard during a drought. My body no longer can carry another young’un. What is the measure of a woman?”

That evening after the dinner dishes were put away, her grown son said good night and went up to his bed in the loft. Myrtle sat in her rocker beside Everett, her husband, wanting to ask, waiting to ask, but afraid of the answer.

Her husband noticed that she sat with her back stiff and not touching the back of her chair. “Woman, what has you on edge tonight?”

“Everett, what am I worth? I have gotten old, can’t give you any more babies, and I’m slower than molasses in January. What am I worth?” she said as tears streamed down her sun-baked cheeks. He looked at her and patted her hand. He gently twisted his fingers around until he held her hand as he had done many years before when they were courting. She looked into his eyes and saw a twinkle and then saw his mouth above his scraggly beard stretch into that familiar smile.

“Myrtie, my love, didn’t that preacher man tell us on his last visit that we are each precious in the sight of God? Didn’t he say that we were more precious than we could imagine? Not a sparrow falls to the ground that God doesn’t see. He has every hair on your head counted. It may have been red, but now it is more precious because it is silver. Pure silver, my girl. Don’t be afraid because God watches over your every move. You are precious to Him and you sure are precious to me. God picked you out for me and pushed me through the door of the general store to bump into you. He knew I’d be too bashful to just start up a conversation with the purtiest girl in town. You don’t have to do anything to be precious. You are my wife and I love you.” He squeezed her hand and turned his head hoping she wouldn’t see the tears filling his eyes because he loved her so much. He cleared his throat.

She looked at the only decoration on her bare log walls. It was an embroidered Bible verse in a rough frame. “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord , she shall be praised..” Everett’s mother had made that for her and handed it to her on their wedding day. His eyes followed hers and he said, “Ma knew what she was doing. She just reminded you that the greatest measure of a woman is to fear and love the Lord. You do that, Myrtie. Don’t you be worryin’ your little gray head about your value in my eyes or in the Lord’s eyes. You are a keeper, and don’t you forget it.”

Myrtle relaxed for the first time all day, as she began rocking and let her old man continue to hold her hand. She thought, “What is the measure of a woman? To love the Lord with all my heart, to fear Him, and to keep loving that rough-looking old man He gave me. Thank you, Lord.” She looked up toward heaven and smiled for the first time that day.

*Quote in embroidered frame is KJV, Proverbs 31:30b

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This article has been read 383 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Francie Snell 01/18/13
This is a beautiful piece of work. I love your descriptions.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/13
This is beautiful. I didn't notice the title until just now, but what a perfect fit. It wraps up the whole point of this story.

The only thing I might suggest is to tighten up your writing by getting rid of unnecessary or repeated words. Take this: What is the measure of a woman? Who decides the measure of a woman? It can be tightened like this: What is the measure of a woman and who decides it?

This piece filled my eyes with tears. The pain of the MC was palpable as was the love of the husband. It was a delightful read, that covered the topic and still delivered a beautiful message and reminder.
Roxanne Howard01/20/13
Very sweet and loving story.
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Awwww...so touching.
God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
Congratulations for placing second in level 2 and for ranking 28 overall!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
Sorry I meant 3rd in your level but you still did great at 28 overall!
C D Swanson 01/25/13
Congrats. God Bless~