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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: Two Plants In A Garden
By David Story
09/08/06


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Little Billy jumped into bed and quickly began to ‘struggle’ with the covers. “Brrr…it’s cold, Mommy.”

Billy’s mother helped. “It sure is.” Mission accomplished, as the blanket finally rested comfortably under Billy’s chin. “Now don’t pull the blanket off during the night, okay?”

Billy smiled and pulled the covers even tighter. “I’ll try.”

The woman took her hand and ran it through Billy’s hair. “So, what’s it going to be tonight?”

Billy watched as his mom walked over to the small white bookcase set against the wall, and began going through his favorite bedtime story books. “Could you tell me the one about the garden?”

She stopped looking through the books, and turned to her son. “You sure that’s the one you want to hear?”

Billy nodded.

The woman walked back over to Billy, and sat down on the side of the bed…

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful garden, with every kind of plant and flower imaginable.”

Billy’s eyes brightened. “And were there two really tall plants in the garden?”

Mom smiled, and a tear began to trickle down her cheek. “Yes, they were very tall, and very beautiful. People came from everywhere to see the two plants.”

“But not everyone liked the garden, did they?”

Her face turned somber. “No, honey, they didn’t.”

“And so they came to tear down the garden, huh? To knock down the two plants so no one could enjoy them.”

“That’s right, they did. And I’m afraid it worked, at least for a while. But the people who took care of the garden began to clean it up…they all pitched in together, worked together, and saved as much of the garden as they could.”

“And Daddy helped?”

This caused another smile, but inside the tears were beginning to flow freely. “That’s right, he did.”

“And that’s when he went up to heaven?”

The woman closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Yes, some of the people who helped rescue the garden were hurt…some were even killed.”

The boys face turned long, and he stared down at the covers.

The woman continued. “But they didn’t die in vain, oh no. For it was those people who were willing to risk everything for the garden…they’re the reason the garden is still here today…stronger and more beautiful than ever.”

“Because of people like daddy.”

“Yes, because of people like daddy, we can sleep tonight, knowing they’re protecting the garden…looking out for it.”

Billy smiled, his face returning to normal. “I like that story, Mommy. I’m proud of those people…people like Daddy.”

“Me too, honey…me, too.” She bent down and kissed Billy on the cheek. “You ready to say your prayers?”

Billy nodded, and closed his eyes. “Dear Jesus, thank you for Mommy. Thank you for Granny and Papa. Thank you for our dog, Benny. And thank you for Daddy – and all of the people who take care…of the garden.”

The woman got up and went to turn off the light. “Sleep well, Billy. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Okay. Goodnight, Mommy.”

“Goodnight.”

The woman turned off Billy’s light and quietly shut his door. As she walked down the hall towards her own bedroom, she stopped at a picture frame hanging on the wall. She lifted her hand to her mouth and kissed her first two fingers, then gently placed the fingers on the lips of the person in the picture. She whispered something to the picture and then walked on to her own room, turning off the hallway light as she did so.

The picture, now resting in the darkness of the home, almost in a ‘guarding and protecting’ sort of way, was of a man in a policeman’s uniform, and on his head was a hat, and on the hat were the letters…N.Y.P.D.

----------

My thoughts and prayers go out, on this five-year anniversary, to the families and friends of the victims of September 11, 2001.

May we never forget…



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This article has been read 2237 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Haug09/14/06
Oh wow! I knew an explanation for the two plants would come, but I had no idea that would be it. A fitting tribute to many who sacrificed all to save others. Timely and touching.
Phyllis Inniss 09/15/06
Very touching and timely. It makes us remember the One who sacrificed His life for all sinners.
Jan Ackerson 09/15/06
I was surprised by the ending, in a good way...it takes a very creative mind to use "garden" in this way. Nicely done.
Virginia Gorg09/15/06
Nicely done. We must not remember those who perish. Reads well and has a nice flow.
Virginia Gorg09/15/06
Oops .. we must not FORGET those who perish. LOL
Jan Ross09/15/06
Ok, me too! Wow! :)

I loved the ending. Very clever use of the topic, using a garden to describe the horrific events of 9/11 to a little boy who can't comprehend the evil in this world.

I was a little bothered by your use of "the woman". It seemed impersonal in the midst of such an intimate story of a mother and her son. Other than that, however, it's a beautiful and precious story!

... and may we NEVER forget!
william price09/16/06
Oh my!!!!!
This story actually gave me goosebumps. Very anointed. I loved it. I believe this story has a life beyond FWs. Excellent job. God bless.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/16/06
It's difficult to type with tears cascading down my face; so I'll just say "thank you"...
Janell Price09/17/06
Because I value constructive criticism for myself, I always try to leave it. And because I spent years as an editor, I developed an eye for errors. I see none in yours. Excellent in conception and execution. Outstanding.
Val Clark09/19/06
A well written story that pulls at the heart strings. That aside, as you gave Billy a name I think it would have made the mother a character I could relate to more is she too had a name. Daddy sometimes has a capital sometimes doesn't.
Teri Wilson09/19/06
Lovely, lovely, lovely!!!!!! Thank you for sharing this touching, wonderful story.
Betty Castleberry09/19/06
What a wonderful tribute to the 911 tragedy. I suspected the two tall plants were going to be the towers, and I was not disappointed. Very creative, and nicely done.
Donna Emery09/19/06
very nice, and very well told. A lovely tribute to the heroes of 911
Joanne Sher 09/19/06
So touching and wonderful - and your characterization is GREAT - especially Billy. He acted JUST as a little boy would! I was not expecting the end - great job!
Rita Garcia09/19/06
Touching, creative mixed in with a great message. Love it!
Suzanne R09/21/06
How you got this story from the topic 'garden' is a mystery ... but you did and you made it work! Congratulations on making the editors' choice. I'm so glad this will be published in the anothology. May we never forget...... I'm not even American, have never been to New York, yet I too am moved to tears - both the first time I read this and again now.
william price09/21/06
I knew this was a good one, David. Excellent job. Congrats on first place and EC. God bless.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/21/06
And this isone I missed all week long! Your creativity is amazing, and the message terrific. Congratulations!
Sue Goodreau09/21/06
Excellent, insightful, and incredibly creative. I really liked how you used the garden theme in your story, and that the two plants were the twin towers.

Very, very well done.
Karen Treharne09/23/06
Nicely done David. A wonderful thought to remind us of 9-11. A great way for a child to relate to the twim towers and the death of those who responded to the threat. May God continue to bless your writing and congratulations on your win. It was a blessing to read.
Judy Burford09/26/06
Congratulations, David, on your 1st place. Your story is beautiful and very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing your heart.
Cherry Bieber09/28/06
A beautiful pictorial reminder of so many moments in our Nation's history that we had best never forget.
jean Clarkson10/03/06
A powerful story and reminder of what we owe to thoe who protect us. Thanks for writing it. The story builds nicely to the unexpected climax.