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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)

TITLE: For Pete's Sake
By william price


The old man didn’t like hiding in the bushes. He would rather be sitting with his friends, praying about all the people he’d seen. That had been Pete’s ministry for the last forty years since his wife died. But, he had a slight problem.

The faded green picnic table under the big oak tree, where Pete would normally be, was occupied by his two children. His son was standing, hands on hips. Elizabeth, his daughter, was sitting at the table.

“Well, he’s not here.” The son scratched his head.

“Do you think he knows we’re looking for him?” the daughter asked, looking up at the massive oak tree.

“Hard to say, sis. But, he should’ve been here by now.”

“He might be having coffee downtown.”

“Well, let’s go check. We have to register him at the home before they close today.”

“Are we doing the right thing, Dan?”

“We’ve already been through this. He’s too old to be wandering around by himself. He could get hurt, lost, or worse. Let’s go.”

As soon as the coast was clear, the white-haired man poked his smiling face out of the bushes. He ambled his way to the picnic table. His shuffling footfalls announced his coming.

When he sat down, two gray squirrels raced down the tree and took their place under the table. Three redbirds appeared on a branch above.

“Hello, my little friends. Did you think I wasn’t coming?”

Pete reached into a brown lunch sack and pulled out a ham sandwich on multi-grain bread. He also had a little baggie filled with shelled pecans.

“I saw you met my children. Did you hear they want to put me away; take me from my friends? How are all of you doing today?”

Pete blessed his lunch and dropped some nuts down by his feet.

“I’d sure miss you, Bert and Ernie.” He watched his furry companions gobble the pecans. Pete looked up at the tree.

“I haven’t forgotten about you girls.”

Pete ripped the heavy crust off his sandwich and tore it into small pieces. He dropped some crumbs in front of him.

“Come and get it.”

One at a time the redbirds fluttered down to the table, picked up a morsel of bread and flew back to their perch.

“You girls look lovely today; red is definitely your color. Enjoy, this might be our last lunch together.”

Pete took a bite of his sandwich while he read his pocket Bible.

“Listen to this, friends. May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble. May He send you help from the sanctuary. May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart.”

Pete closed his Bible, bowed his head and opened his heart.

I thank you Father for your Word. Do you remember the young couple I saw on my way to your table today? They seemed so polite, but their eyes were sad. I believe they are in great need of you. I lift them to your remembrance.

I also dreamed about a school bus last night, Lord. Please keep the kids safe.

I want to lift my Pastor up in prayer as well, Lord. He appears to be under some pressure. Thank you for meeting his needs.

Lord, I know my children mean well. But, I love my walks. I love eating lunch with you at this table. I love praying for the faces you bring into my path each day. I know you have answered many of my prayers here and I thank you that I have somehow made a difference in people’s lives. But, if you want me to move, I will. Amen.

Pete broke up the rest of the bread crust on the table and dropped the last of the pecans by his feet.

Lord, please take care of my friends here and allow me a visit or two. Thank you.

Pete stood from the table and caressed its worn wood. He looked up at the oak tree and wiped a tear from his eye.

“There you are, dad.”

“Hello, children. What a surprise.”


Weeks later, Pete’s son and daughter were back at the oak tree.

“I don’t know where he is, sis. But, we have to get him back to the home. Let’s go look downtown.”

As soon as they left, the nearby bushes rustled and a white-haired man peered out. Pete flashed a huge, satisfying smile.

“I’m ba-ack.”

Scripture reference: Psalms 20:1-5.

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This article has been read 1055 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 12/14/06
Sadly sweet. You have communicated the heart of this old man so well. I hope he "escapes" lots! Good job.
Mo 12/14/06
The image of the hidden Pete (at first I thought he might be up in the tree), made me smile.
Lynda Lee Schab 12/15/06
Oh, I loved this! Sweet and tender. Left me wanting to know more about the precious man's life. Wonderful writing.
Pat Guy 12/15/06
Loved the atmosphere of the park, 'friends' and Pete. Makes me wish I could have lunch with him too - to get to know him.

Yes - the prayer warrior - those who are impressed to pray for the person on the side of the road - or for that mom in the store. You've conveyed this ministry well. A really good job of writing.

Debora Dyess12/15/06
Nicely done. The characterization was realistic, as was the dialogue and prayer. I was sorry at the end that Pete hadn't found the ministry God had for him at the home, but that would be a tough assignment for any of us, especially if we weren't ready to actually be there. I'm facing some decisions soon with my own mom, and pray I can take her heart into consideration as I go forward. So, right now at least, I'm feeling sorry for the kids!! Good job.
dub W12/17/06
Top notch. A trifle sad, but the lite ending kept it from being a tear jerker. I enjoyed this.
Beth Muehlhausen12/17/06
Cute title; involving story. Loved Pete's example, and his childlike demeanor at the end. :-)
Amy Michelle Wiley 12/19/06
Sweet story! Good job.
Catrina Bradley 12/19/06
Aww, I feel sorry for Pete, having to sneak away. I enjoyed reading this - thanks.
Donna Powers 12/19/06
A very sweet story. I enjoyed it very much. I feel for Pete and for his well-meaning kids. A wonderful story!
Betty Castleberry12/19/06
I absolutely love stories about seniors. You did a great job making Pete a lovable character. I am saving this one, with your permission. I hope it does well.
Joanne Sher 12/19/06
Excellent description and detail. This is absolutely an engaging and moving tale. Love the ending too. Great stuff, friend!
Donna Haug12/20/06
A blessed unsung ministry. I feel for the dilema of the gentleman as well as the children. Tough decisions. Made me think about the issue without weighing me down. Good writing - and good title! ;)
Ann Grover12/20/06
He didn't like hiding in the bushes...but knew intuitively he needed to if he was to preserve his freedom and ministry another day. What a tough decision that many of us are facing, both as children and, inevitably and eventually, as the parent. Realistically told... I felt for Pete...wanted him to be free, yet wanted him to be safe.
Leigh MacKelvey12/20/06
I loved your story, but I thought of my own mom and decisions we had to make. Made me cry. I liked the insert of his prayers for others. It showed he still had a lucid and unconfused heart. Great writing.
Shari Armstrong 12/20/06
Very nice, I love the conversations with his friends (although female redbirds are more of a brown ;) just a nitpick).
Helen Paynter12/20/06
Tenderly told. I like this a lot.
Edy T Johnson 12/21/06
I love the memorable characters you create in your stories, SirWilliam. This is another gem from your pen.