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

TITLE: So Much More
By Leigh MacKelvey


Our knees touching, we sway on the porch swing, precious silence between us. Fireflies begin their ballet, their flaming tutus shock the dusk.

The hum of the traffic on the highway behind our property somehow assures me. I take your hand in mine and run my fingers over the rough calluses that are the trophies of your labor. A water color painting of pink posies floating around yellow and orange splots rise above us as the Carolina moon swallows the sun. Soon we will be wrapped in the stars as we rock the long day into night on the front porch of our home.

Our home. Years of praying that the rent would come in time for the monthly deadline; years of drought and deadened crops, and through it all God provided. The rent somehow came and the children were fed, even if only potato soup. You, yes, You, my dear old man, were the one who refused to let me lose faith.

"Now put the tissues away, Belinda, you've had your cry. Time to take my hand and look up with me. It's from there our help will come."

Oh, how I admired your dependance on the Lord. Nary a problem arose you didn't point to God instead of complaining. Then time came when we were able to put a down payment on this farmhouse. The creaky floors, flapping shutters and never-ending repairs have sheltered us and we've called it our home, our blessed home.

Out back is a tree. Under it, sunk into the ground, is a small round marker. Sammy. Our Sammy lived but two short months after his birth in the upstairs bedroom. I thought I would just sit under that old Weeping Willow tree that towers over his grave and weep until someone put me in my own grave. But you gathered me in your arms, took me inside and talked to me through the night about the wonder and the joy Sammy had been to us for two months and how we would never have had that same joy in all our lifetime. Now tiny tendrils of baby ivy curl around his marker and I can smile at the Weeping Willow tree.

Janie. How long ago it seems. The storm outside beat against the house and knocked over two pine trees beside the driveway. I was frantic because your truck stalled out and Janie was gone. She and Eddie had decided they were in love and plenty ready for marriage. My goodness, sixteen and seventeen were not my idea of two youngins headed for wedded bliss. I stomped and yelled, while you got the engine fixed. I heard you softly praying for our daughter, asking God to protect her and take her along His perfect path. Turns out, they had some lick of sense and came home later, soaked to the bone. My house dress was dripping after Janie flew into my arms and we hugged for ten minutes as she cried and told me they figured they couldn't live on the $15.45 between 'em. They were right about each other, though. Five years later, with our blessings, they had the sweetest wedding in the chapel down by the lake. I babysit quite often 'cause Janie has a job to help make ends meet.

Well, now, what about Frank? He got himself in trouble with the law. I drove myself crazy wonderin' where we messed up with him. You said God didn't promise us no rose garden and sometimes we can only have faith that we instructed him in the ways of the Lord and "God will catch up with him and Frank will to make his own choice."

Ever so gently, I put my head on your shoulder and you bend yours so that your lips brush my forehead. In a minute, when the mosquitos decide to come for their evening snack, we'll go into the house and up the creaky steps. You'll pull down the covers, place your uppers in a jar and I'll slip on my cotton nightie ... the one that smells like jasmine. Then I'll slide under the sheets and wait for you to put your feet on mine for warmth and pull my head onto your chest. I will tell you, as I do most nights, that this is so much more than happiness.

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This article has been read 846 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 07/19/07
Beautiful, just heart-breakingly beautiful! I want to weep with the happiness oozing from your story! Fabulous descriptions - this one should do very well!
Joanne Sher 07/19/07
This is gorgeous. Your language is beautifully poetic and meaningful and lovely. You absolutely tugged at my heartstrings and put me RIGHT in the middle of this lovely couple's life.
Joy Faire Stewart07/21/07
I felt I was there with the couple sharing their memories. Your descriptions are so vivid. Excellent!
Dee Yoder 07/22/07
"Fireflies begin their ballet, their flaming tutus shock the dusk." OK. Not fair! I had no chance against a line like that! You reeled me in hook, line, and sinker right from the start. What can I say? It's a wondrously beautiful description of a life-long love. A favorite!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/23/07
This is one of the best I've read--so very beautifully written. You did, indeed, tug at my heart strings with love and beauty and sorrow and faith and contentment all intertwined.
Benjamin Graber07/23/07
Beautiful. I really appreciated the vivid descriptions you used. Great job!
Lynda Schultz 07/23/07
Absolutely beautiful!
Lynda Lee Schab 07/23/07
What an utter and total tear-jerker! But in a good way! This piece messes with your emotions and tugs on your heartstrings - just what a good entry is supposed to do. :-)
Purely precious. I adored this.
Betty Castleberry07/25/07
THIS is wonderful! I absolutely love the sweet domestic picture you've painted here. I can relate to the failed crops statement, and I really love the warm, sweet relationship you've portrayed between this aging couple. If this isn't one of my all-time favorites, then I don't know what is, by cracky! ;0)
Sara Harricharan 07/25/07
This brings tears to my eyes. One of the best kinds of happiness. A joy that doesn't need spoken words to express, a love and a trust through years that mean so very much to those it has touched and guided. Excellent writing, friend! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery07/25/07
A precious and beautiful story. Renews my faith in the love. Can't get much better than this!
Joanney Uthe07/25/07
Beautiful, touching story. Great descriptions. I love the message that true happiness comes from making it through life's trials.
Jacquelyn Horne07/25/07
Wonderful portrayal of a happy life.
Kristen Hester07/25/07
You have painted a beautiful picture with your words. Very nice.
Dixie Phillips07/25/07
This is really good! OH MY.... Talk about wanting someone to play the violins in the background. The first paragraph just blew me away, but the last one pushed me over the cliff. OH MY.... I just loved how their love in the last paragraph was so pure and genuine. Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/26/07
Indeed, this was good. Congratulations on "highly commended."
Julie Arduini07/26/07
Congratuations Leah! This is beautiful, simply beautiful. Well deserved win!
Sara Harricharan 07/26/07
Congrats on your highly commended! ^_^
Dee Yoder 07/26/07
Congratulations, Leigh! Your entry is one of my favorites!
Sheri Gordon07/26/07
Congratulations. This is absolutely beautiful. Your descriptions allowed me to "see" everything unfolding. Great job.
Mo 07/26/07
Wow, just lovely.
Lisa Holloway07/26/07
This is such a nice story! A godly husband really makes a difference in a family. I enjoyed glimpsing this family through the years, and your writing made it easy to hear the lady's voice.