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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: The Sailor and the Lady
By David F. Palmieri Sr.


The Sailor and the Lady

He loved the ocean more than anything in his world. The five months between high school graduation and leaving for Navy boot camp were the longest he could remember. As he boarded the unheated train to Chicago his dream finally began to take shape. Little did he know the trails that life would be taking him down in the coming years. The boy would never turn back and regain his youth.

Those first three years at sea saw a boy grow into a man, at least in his eyes. A career in the Navy was still his desire, so he requested orders for another six years. Receiving the duty he had preferred brought great anticipation and joy. Having accumulated three months leave he returned home for the holidays at the prodding of his younger sister Joni. After all, he had until January to sign the contract and receive his orders. The sailor headed home in October for a well deserved R & R.

Shedding the uniform, which he was so proud of, he quickly got into the jeans, flannel shirt, and well-worn cowboy boots that had become his trademark in his younger days. His denim jacket, with an outline of Texas, sewn on the back by his mom, was his pride and joy. Next a bolo tie and western hat completed his transformation from sailor to cowboy. He was ready to show the home folks his newfound maturity, as a world traveler.

His first glance of her took place in the family’s living room. Joni briefly introduced her as he headed out the door. He didn’t pay any particular attention, but until this day he still pictures her, sitting forward in the recliner, with her waist length brown hair and bashful smile. Her name was Rosanne if he remembered correctly. Going to meet the guys down at the local strip mall, was his only agenda at this point in time.

He was her hero, older brother, sailor, cowboy, and friend. Joni was anxiously awaiting the weekend. They were scheduled for their first double date. She would be bringing her boyfriend Scott. Karen, her best friend and long time family friend, would be coming along to accompany her brother. Loving to travel the group planned a trip to the Delaware Water Gap about fifty miles north of their hometown.

As fate would have it something came up at the last minute that prevented Karen from going with them. Joni called around to see if any of her other friends could come with such short notice. Fortunately Rosanne could join them so they headed over to pick her up. As she climbed into the van and heard the country music playing she must have wondered, what had she gotten herself into?

He really had no interest in a relationship of any kind in those days. He was looking forward to his re-enlistment in the New Year and resuming his career on the high seas. They stood atop the mountain gazing down at the beauty of the river below. He stood behind her and to the left as they leaned on the fence keeping them back from the ledge. He noticed the small cloth loop on the back of her white shirt, so popular in those days. For reasons unknown and without making contact he placed his hands on the fence on either side of her and whispered those immortal words. “I just want to let you know that if anything serious ever happens with us I plan on going to live in Texas some day.”

By January the Navy was the furthest thing from his mind. This brown-haired beauty had stolen his heart, but in a totally one-sided romance at the time. Everything about this relationship was wrong. He was twenty-one and a Navy Veteran. She was sixteen and a junior in high school. Understandably, her parents were not pleased with this situation. They tolerated it, with strict restrictions, probably because he was her friend’s brother. When they eloped twenty months later her family was devastated.

Twelve years and two kids later something happened that would again alter the couple’s course forever. Out of a clear blue sky the most awesome romance in their lives began. First God got their attention. Then He grabbed their hearts and changed them for eternity. By His grace they both became His children at the same time. The sailor and the lady finally found the true meaning of love.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Christine Dunn04/26/07
A very nice story. You managed to give a lot of detail even in 750 words. It could just be me, but perhaps a little dialogue would have helped the reader identify more with your characters.
James Wood04/26/07
Grrr, another example of a good story, where the end doesn't give me the closure I want! I know it is hard to trim out sentences after you've written them, but editing is as important if not more important than the actual writing.

Its a good story, don't get me wrong. I'd just like more closure.
Stevie McHugh04/26/07
You've got a great story line to work with here. Tough to fit a lot in with the word limit, but you developed some interesting points, like how the sailor loved the sea so much until he met his bride. Touching!
Sheri Gordon04/28/07
A really nice storyline -- possibly for a novella? It seemed a little fragmented, or jumpy in places -- obviously because of the word limit. Nice job though.
Julie Arduini04/29/07
This has really strong potential here, I too felt it jumped a bit but the description of Navy life and his love for it was right on. Nicely done, if only we had 1000 words to work with!
Jacquelyn Horne05/01/07
Romantic. There's just not enough space here for very much detail. I would like to hear more. Good writing.