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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)

TITLE: Labor in Vain
By Linda Germain


2006 –Monday
Dad was angry again tonight. He intends to turn down a job offer because he says he is worth more than a measly 22 dollars an hour. He hates the boss and there are not enough benefits. Mom is beside herself with worry. She doesn’t want to give up her gourmet coffee at 15 dollars a pound.

1906- Monday
Papa was so happy when he came home tonight. He got the job! It pays 22 cents an hour and he gets Sundays off. Mama is beside herself with joy, although she noted that with coffee 15 cents a pound, he’d have to work over 40 minutes to pay for it. She had said God would make a way, and He surely did.

2006 -Tuesday
Dad decided to accept that job. When he told Mom, he was grinding his teeth and his face was red. He says he plans to straighten out that nasty boss or know the reason why.

1906 –Tuesday
My dear Papa left before the sun came up and dragged back in after dark. Mama sold her eggs today for a whopping 14 cents a dozen so she was able to fix a good supper. We sat around the kitchen table and listened to every word about Papa’s first day. He wants us to pray for his over wrought boss.

2006 –Wednesday
Why does my father have such a miserable attitude? He was late his first day at the new job and tonight he didn’t want any supper. I saw him head for the locked cabinet where he keeps those stinky bottles. He said he needed a drink -- and not water.

1906 -Wednesday
Papa thinks the Lord gave him that job for more than one reason. He reminded us we must always do the best at whatever we put our hand to, and never attempt to work at anything without taking God with us.

2006 – Thursday
I watched him from my upstairs window. He sat in his car for a long time and then trudged up the sidewalk with his head down. Mom asked about his day, but he just made some kind of disgusted noise and went straight to the cabinet. He scares me.

1906 –Thursday
Before dark, we heard a man whistling as he walked from the trolley stop. It was darling Papa. He figured out a way to reorganize his workload and get finished quicker. He grabbed Mama and waltzed her around the kitchen. At supper, we held hands while he thanked the Lord for our bounty.

2006 – Friday
I listened for the big, black car to come home, but it never did. It is late and I can hear Mom pacing the floor. When she called Aunt Penny her voice was low and serious sounding. Her eyes are all swollen.

1906 – Friday
I met Papa at the corner and walked home with him. I love to hear him talk about the ideas and plans he has for his work, and how he prays for guidance every single day. We could smell pot roast and apple pie when we reached our house. I’m pretty sure I saw his eyes twinkle.

2006 – Saturday
Mom can’t stop crying. I can’t start. That for richer or poorer stuff is a bunch of junk. I don’t think I’ll ever get married. It just doesn’t work.

1906 –Saturday
Papa came home early today and worked in the garden awhile and then fixed the porch swing. Every Saturday, without fail, he polishes all of our shoes. I hope I marry a man as wonderful as the one my Mama did.

2006 – Sunday
This has been the worst day. A few people brought food -- mostly fried chicken in a bucket. Mom sat at the table not drinking the cup of gourmet coffee. I heard her tell Aunt Penny, “After we move I’ll be forced to find some kind of job. He went through every cent of the fortune that began with my great-grandfather, Lon. My pitiful husband never could make things work.”

1906 – Sunday
This has been the best day. After church we came home to eat the fried chicken Mama had cooked early this morning. Papa agreed to put his feet up and rest, but he took a pencil and paper to make notes. He was humming when Mama walked by. He winked at her and she giggled and told him, “Oh Lonnie, you just keep on doing your important work.”

So… he did.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Marilyn Schnepp 08/04/06
What a difference a day makes...or in THIS case, a hundred years. Yes, I remember working for 50Cents an hour - and my Dad told me he'd go to the store in his day with a quarter and buy bread, milk and have money left over. Wow! Great "take" on the topic WOrk...nice job.
Melanie Kerr 08/04/06
I liked the way you tied in the two stories at the end. I know which man I would rather be married to.
Venice Kichura08/04/06
Great comparison of what a difference 100 years makes in our culture. I really enjoyed this!
Jen Davis08/05/06
Your creative style of contrasting two different men from two differnt time periods made your message very effective. Well done.