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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)

TITLE: Out of the Mouth of a Babe
By Pam Carlson-Hetland


The knock startled Frances from her nap. She struggled to her feet and shuffled to the door leaning heavily on her walker. The scowl on her face softened when she saw her visitor.

"I picked flowers for you, Auntie Fran." Abby offered a chubby fist of wilting daisies.

"Thank you, dear. Why?"

"'Cause they make me happy. They'll make you happy, too."

"I wish happiness was that easy, Abby."

Abby turned wide-set eyes to her Great Aunt. With soft curls framing a heart-shaped face, her appearance was like a cherub painted by a master.

"Are you sad? When I'm sad, my Mommy gives me kisses. Will that help?"

Frances sat down heavily in her chair, opening her arms, "Of course it will, Darlin'." Abby threw her arms around Fran's neck and planted a wet kiss on her cheek.

"You're here to keep me company today?" Frances asked. The little girl nodded.

"Mommy had to take Davey to the doctor. I walked over here all by myself." Abby was pleased with her new responsibility to traverse the distance between their homes.

"Your Aunt Mary made lemonade and cookies. Can you bring those here?" Frances asked. Abby ran to the kitchen to retrieve the awaiting items. Nibbling on ginger cookies and sipping lemonade, they chatted amiably. Frances enjoyed this diversion from the pervading gloomy thoughts about recent changes.

"Can I see your room?" Abby asked suddenly.

"I suppose so, but be careful with my things."

"I will." Abby smiled brightly as she skipped down the hall.

"It's so pretty!" She called from the other room. "Come. See!"

With great effort, Frances labored to her feet and followed the direction of her young companion's voice. The afternoon light flooded the large space. Abby circled the room examining everything on the dresser and night stand, each photograph on the wall. Frances plopped down on the corner of the bed and told the story behind each keepsake.

"It's like a treasure house in here!" Abby exclaimed.

"Yes, but it's not mine, it's my daughter's house. I had to sell my house when I couldn't live alone anymore." Fran said sadly. Abby was quiet for a few minutes, toying with a pillow.

"When Davey broke his leg and couldn't go upstairs anymore, I had to change rooms with him. I didn't want to. I was kinda scared to be alone. But Daddy painted my new room pink–that's my favorite color–and Mommy made me new curtains. And I got all my favorite things up there, just like you got in your room. Mommy says we take care of people we love when they don't feel good even if we hafta change rooms. Looks like Aunt Mary got you new curtains, too."

Fran contemplated what Abby had just said. She looked around. The room had been painted Fran's favorite color. New curtains and bedspread matched perfectly. Carefully chosen objects were strategically placed as mementoes of a full, happy life. Mary and her husband had moved their bedroom upstairs to accommodate Fran's needs. Had her sorrows and fears overshadowed the love displayed?

"Can I go outside?" Abby asked.

Fran found a warm spot to sit on the patio. Abby scampered off, returning often with discoveries: a 4-leaf clover, a fuzzy caterpillar, or flower to add to the vase of revived daisies.

"What makes you so happy, Child?" Fran asked.

"There's lots to be happy about. There's flowers an' cookies an' puppies. There's...."

"But there are sad things, too." she countered.

"I know. But when sad things happen, I just think about things that make me happy. Then sad things don't bother me so much. I'm gonna go swing."

Abby ran to the swing, hoisted herself up, and pumped the swing high. Wind frolicked in her curls and she giggled. The higher she swung, the more she laughed. With pure joy, Abby loudly sang, "Jesus loves me, this I know...."

The Spirit stirred within Frances. "Sing with her," it urged. Fran's voice joined Abby's. Their generational duet of praise lifted both the young and the old heart.

"Lord, thank you for loving me." Frances prayed. "Life may not be like I want it to be. But out of the mouth of a babe, you have reminded me that You are caring for me. That makes me happy."

Proverbs 17:22 AMP "A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones."

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This article has been read 773 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kristen Hester07/19/07
This is wonderful. I can so picture Abby and her great Aunt. Your descriptions are so real. Great job. Out of the Mouth of Babes, for sure!
Children are definitely used by God to open our adults eyes to many truths. WOnderful piece. Abby is delightful and so innocent before God.
Seema Bagai 07/21/07
Sweet story with well-created characters.
Lynda Schultz 07/23/07
Wonderful story and a very appropriate message for a world where nothing except God is constant.
Joanne Sher 07/23/07
Just LOVE Abby! A sweet, heartwarming story!
Dee Yoder 07/23/07
This is a lovely story! I like both your characters and the way they interact. Good, natural dialog, too.
Mariane Holbrook 07/23/07
I have an Abby, too! Must be something about that name.
This is such a tender story and I love the way you treated it. I felt good just having read it. You're quite a story teller!
Edy T Johnson 07/24/07
What a beautiful story. You write so very well. I could feel the gloominess in the elderly woman and the contrasting delight in the little girl. As one of my nephews once said, about his baby sister, "God gives us babies to make us laugh." Isn't it wonderful that we have those little ones around us! [My special delights are named Clairy and Izzy (^&^)]
Betty Castleberry07/24/07
Wonderful message. It is true that the best teachers are often children. I liked the interaction between the child and the elderly lady. Well done.
Elizabeth Baize07/25/07
You really captured the simple joy that hung like a halo around this little girl. I loved the turning point when Fran asked herself the mental question, "Had her sorrows and fears overshadowed the love displayed?" This was a beautiful story!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/25/07
I loved your story of this wonderful little girl and the joy she brought. The message is just right for "happiness."
Loren T. Lowery07/25/07
A great lesson we all should take to heart. Loved reading this.
Sara Harricharan 07/25/07
This gave me goosebumps. Good job. I love the dialouge between them and the message underneath is simply priceless. ^_^ Wonderful writing!
Catrina Bradley 07/25/07
Oh, this is so good! The innocent wisdom of children can be so inspiring.