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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: A Great Homecoming
By Barbara Ann Smith


It's the day of our family reunion and everyone is in a hustle and bustle stage getting ready to leave for the picnic grounds over in another town. Mom and I stayed the night with Grandmother and Granddad to help them get ready for the big day. Everyone tries to look their best in hopes they won't look any older than they did five years ago. Our family kind of wishes away five years of their lives to hasten a return to attend their reunions. We're a family of loving relatives and we cherish the all day affair to be together. Relatives come from all around the United States. We gather to sing, play games, exchange pictures, and mainly to catch up on each other's lives for the past five years.

Grandmother yells, "Hurry everyone I want to get to the grounds before your Great Grandmother does because she'll get rushed and get exhausted before the day begins. We all know her health has not been too good."

Granddad says,"Listen up! Listen up! Please, don't forget your picture albums and anything else you've planned to show your relatives and of course, your lawn chairs."

We all get in the packed van and head out for a most exciting day of festivities. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful sunshiny day. Across the way, butter cups and daisies light up the fields like hundreds of lit candles and the Black Angus dotted here and there makes it a perfect country setting. A red barn in the distance has a picture of a black and white cow starring from the distance encouraging people to drink milk and just below this sign a huge picture of Uncle Sam dressed in red, white, and blue, points in our direction, and it reads, "We Need You."

I look at my Granddad, and say, "Look, look, Granddad, Uncle Sam says he needs us. Does this mean you and I have to go to work for him and leave home? Why is he saying this Granddad?"

Granddad waits awhile before answering my question, and then he says, "Millie, that is our country asking men and women to join the military service to serve their country. This offers young men and women a chance to serve their country as well as get an education. You don't remember but I served during the Vietnam War many years ago, and I do believe to this day, if it had not be for the protection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I would have never made it back home to be with my family and friends. Millie, He never left my side, He was there with me every day giving me the strength to stand strong and to push foward. Every time I had fear, I called upon Him to help me finish my fight for my country, and at the same time, I thought about the fear He must have felt the day He struggled to tug His cross up Calvary's Hill. They beat and spat upon Him; and crowned Him with thorns. He never flinched or uttered any angry words to His enemies. They crucified Him and watched as He suffered a tortuous death dying for all of our sins and to offer us a chance to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. He rose on the third day to provide us the opportunity for an eternal life with Him in Heaven. This was His Holy Father's decision and He did it for us."

"I never knew that Granddad," I say.

"Will I go to Heaven to be with Jesus? Will I have to fight in a war for my country? Millie asks.

"Yes, you can go to Heaven to be with Jesus by accepting Him into your life and by living according to His word." Granddad said.

Grandmother's listening to our conversation, and she says, "Millie, you are a bright young lady for being so inquisitive about important things in life, but I guess at thirteen we're inquisitive."

Granddad interrups, and says, "Serving Jesus and your country are two important things to remember in this life. It's a good policy never to abandoned either one and your life will be full of enrichments."

Arriving at the picnic grounds, Millie looks up into her Granddad's eyes, and says, "I now know why I love you so much."

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This article has been read 753 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany08/24/06
What I like - You used some nice descriptions as they went to the reunion and painted a very nice scene of them coming together.
What I might change - The beginning paragraph could be broken up into something with more impact and the last line might be reworked some. Recheck your punctuation around dialogue. Also,The grandfather's story seemed abit forced or could be he said a lot in a long paragraph. Maybe beak it up with her asking some questions. It would be a lot for a younger child to take in all at once like that. And you want to make it real.:) You've got the content down and story line- just tighten it up some.:)
Deborah Bauers08/29/06
I like the obvious warmth that you convey in this family story. I have a few suggestions to offer that might assist you in tightening up this piece. Research other ways of introducing dialogue other than, "he says," "she answered," etc. Be careful about changing tenses back and forth. If you begin speaking in the first person, then try to deliver the story from the same perspective. When the little boy and his granddad are dialoguing about Uncle Sam, perhaps you might look for a "hook" to bridge the gap between service to country and service to Christ by developing the dialogue a bit more. It might be a bit too much information to dump on the little boy all at once unless you can tie the two concepts together. I enjoyed reading this piece. Family reunions were always special in my family as long as my grandparents were alive.
david grant08/30/06
I liked the warmth and the message in this piece. Yes, it needs some work, but it is well worth reading. Thanks for sharing it. Can't wait for your next entry!