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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)

TITLE: How a Habit Started
By Mary MacKinnon


“Nothing happened!” the girls screamed after a deafening crash from their bedroom. My husband, Gordy, and I ran to evaluate the damage. Outside of the mess where their small chest of drawers had fallen and dumped its contents, they were right. Nothing had happened—nothing bad. That started a comment which became a family classic each time troubles and disasters threatened us—and nothing happened.

Soon after that bedroom crash, Gordy was in the backyard building a cement block fence like our other neighbors in southern California. He came to the kitchen, white and visibly shaken. "What on earth happened, honey?” I asked.

“I fell backwards off the box where I stood. I landed flat on my back—bare inches from a pile of cement blocks.” He sat down, shocked over the near disaster of landing on those bricks and the broken spine which could have resulted.. Together we thanked the Lord that nothing happened.

Then our lives took a drastic turn as we sold our home and boarded a Japanese ship, headed for Brazil. Our final destination was Brazil’s western jungle frontier where we would be missionaries.

Three weeks before, the Los Angeles coastline had faded into the horizon when our Japanese ship, the Argentina Maru, started toward Brazil. At each port along the way, the captain had announced the anticipated departure time. They always left later. In the harbor at Rio, he announced departure would be late afternoon three days later.

“Show me,” my husband commented. “I don’t believe it. Judging from the past, it would be a first if they do.”

For two days we had a great time going around Rio on street cars, taking a tram up the mountain to see Cristo Corcovado, sightseeing, shopping, and eating in Brazilian restaurants.

The next day Gordy planned to go and see the famous Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf), but I begged off. I would stay aboard with our baby while he took our teen-aged girls with him. Bobby and I had a quiet, restful day but around four-thirty I began to get perturbed. There were signs of takeoff, just like the captain had said. Were they actually going to leave as announced? I wondered. What a troubling possibility!

Up on deck I looked down the pier to see if Gordy and the girls were in sight yet.

Only an empty pier stretched to the landing dock.

The ship’s crew continued their preparations.

What would happen if the three of them didn’t make it in time? I would be left alone with the baby to cope with the landing next day. There would be the hassle of getting our forty pieces of baggage through customs while floundering to understand the Portuguese language. My situation would be desperate,

But Gordy and the two girls would be even worse off, stranded in Rio, facing this strange language on every hand, needing to get to Santos. The crucial, desperate factor facing them was that the documents and most of the money were with me on the ship. How could they possibly do it?

As I imagined the possible scenario before us, my heart began to hammer. My throat tightened. Goosebumps prickled my arms. I broke into a cold sweat from nervousness.

A thunderous drumming on a huge metal disk began. That signalled the pulling up of the gangplank and casting off. The ship was actually going to leave! I panicked. What a nightmare!

I strained to see if Gordy and the girls were in sight yet. Still no sign. Then I saw the gangplank being pulled up. My heart sank. Then worse yet--they were finally in sight, running as fast as they could, but too far away. They would never make it. They were going to be left behind. (Many people were.) I waved frantically to the the man pulling up the gangplank. The kind Japanese sailor saw them running and lowered it.

As they clambered aboard, the ship started pulling out from the harbor.

Once more possible disaster had been averted. Nothing happened.

We are confident that nothing happened each time because Psalm 90 says, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

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This article has been read 563 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carla Feagans01/24/06
A great story of the "near misses" so many of us have all the time and forget to stop and thank God for. His angels truly do amazing things that so many of us fail to notice.

Well written. I think you should call it "Nothing happened". :)
Jan Kamp01/24/06
I agree. "Nothing Happened" is more of an attention grabber, and more indicative of what the story is about!
Jan Ackerson 01/24/06
Good job--you hooked me from the start, and held my interest throughout. Excellent.
Marilyn Schnepp 01/25/06
You may have learned to laughingly say "nothing happened" - which is true down here on planet Earth! But "something big happens" up there, when angels scurry to deter those "nothing happened" scenes down here! Think about it! Nicely done and God Bless.
Sandra Petersen 01/26/06
You grabbed me with the first paragraph, because I, too, have heard loud noises from elsewhere in the house only to hear from the girls, "Nothing happened!" I agree with those who said the title should be 'Nothing Happened'. Good job at describing the awful plight you would all have been in if the ship would have left without your husband and daughters! And what a comforting thought to conclude a well-written piece.
Phyllis Inniss01/30/06
I agree with the other readers. A great article. I was hanging on there hoping your husband and the girls would make it. Thank God they did.