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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: Harry's Miracle Smile
By George Parler


Harry knocks on the office door. From inside a voice replies. “Come in, it’s open.”

The door partially opens followed by Harry’s wrinkled face, beaming with a smile. “You wanted to see me, Mr. Tanner?”

“Yes, Harry, come in, and please call me Mike.”

Harry gazes out the window as he sits in the leather chair. “Boy that sure is a mighty fine view you got here, Mr. Mike. Don’t see pictures of the city like this from the mailroom unless we hang one on the wall.”

“Harry, getting to the reason I called you up here, I’m afraid I have some bad news. The corporate heads have ordered a reduction in work force and I’m afraid that your name is on the list to be laid-off. It has nothing to do with your work. According to your file you’ve been a loyal employee for many years.” He takes a deep breath and looks down at his paper work. Sometimes I hate my job.

Slowly he raises his eyes as he waits for a response only to find Harry sitting there with the same big smile on his face. “Harry?”


“Did you hear what I said?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Mike, I sure did.”

He must be going senile and doesn’t understand the impact of what I’m telling him. Mike walks around and sits on the front of his desk leaning towards him. “Harry, do you understand that you are no longer employed by us and you can’t come back to work here any more?”

“Yes sir, no more work and no pay check; right?”

“That’s right, Harry.” Mike sits up straight with a puzzled look on his face. “If you truly understand all this, how can you be so chipper about it? I wouldn’t blame you one bit for being at least a little upset or something. I know I would be.”

Harry smiles even bigger. “Well, Mr. Mike, it’s like this. I’ve really enjoyed working here in the mailroom all these years. I’ve made many friends here during that time. But you see, this job is not my source, God is. This is just the job He used to meet my needs for now. God will supply; He hasn’t failed me yet. When you get to be my age you learn a few things along the way.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, little things to most folks, but not to me. You see, when I opened my eyes this morning and realized that I had just taken another breath; that was the miracle. Everything after that, whether good or bad, just reminds me that I’m alive. Kind of hard to get down about anything compared to that.”

“Well that sounds great, Harry, but no one can keep that attitude for long. Especially in this day and age.”

“That’s only because they have forgotten who God is and who they are in Him.”

“I don’t know, Harry, it seems to me that you may be setting yourself up for a big fall.”

He laughs. “Maybe so, but I know my God will catch me before I hit bottom.”

“You make it sound so easy, Harry.” He stares out the window at the city below.

“That’s the thing. It is easy. We’re the ones who make God complicated. God gives us His love, grace, and mercy, not to mention His Holy Spirit to guide us. It sounds to me like He wants us to have the best in this life. Oh sure there may be a few bumps in the road. A brand new road is nice the first few hundred miles but after that it gets rather boring.”

“You’re a good man, Harry. I can’t say that I’ve ever met anyone quite like you.”

“Why thank you, Mr. Mike. That’s mighty nice of you. Well I best be getting back down stairs and clean out my desk.” Harry stands to his feet and the two of them shake hands.

“Please, Harry, call me Mike.”

“Well alrighty then, Mike. Would you mind if I said goodbye to some of my dear friends before I leave? I mean if that’s alright?”

“Sure, Harry, no problem.”

“Well thank you kindly, Mike. You be good to yourself now, hear?” He opens the door to leave.

“Harry, wait.”

“Yes, sir?”

“If you’re ever in the neighborhood, would you stop by for a cup of coffee sometimes? Just to talk.”

He nods with a wink. “I’d like that just fine, Mike, just fine.”

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Member Comments
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Joanne Sher 09/20/07
I'm just wild about Harry ;) Love love LOVE his personality and message and voice. Great job with the dialog - enjoyed reading this very much.
Jan Ackerson 09/20/07
What a cool guy!

There was a slight POV issue at the beginning, but once you got that smoothed out, the story really clipped along. Nicely done.
Dee Yoder 09/21/07
I enjoyed this character, too. The dialogue is well written. Harry is a great guy; I hope I would be as accepting of change as he is.
Joy Faire Stewart09/21/07
Love the message in the story. You have created a wonderful character. Good job!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/21/07
Now THAT's what I call Faith with a capital "F"! Wow, what an uplifting entry, even though in the realm of "common sense" one doesn't know where Harry will get his next meal or rent money. Great uplifter for those who doubt. Me included! Thanks for showing me the way!
julie wood09/22/07
I loved this story! Wonderful dialogue--Harry comes alive as a delightful and beautiful character! I know and have known several amazing people like him at the nursing homes where I volunteer--and these special people are always an inspiration to me.

Wonderful message about the true Source of happiness.

Great title, too--a personal name in a title always sparks my curiosity. Great job!
Janice Cartwright09/22/07
Count me in as one of Harry's admirers! Also of your story. As a matter of fact my husband and I are in that same position at present and we keep pinching ourselves to ask why we aren't worried or upset. But we both know the reason. By the time you reach our age you have seen God provide in the midst of bleakness so often all you can do is wonder how He will do it this time. This one is probably going to place high and it will deserve it.
Dolores Stohler09/23/07
This is a good story, well told, but I find it a little hard to believe. But then, your title claims it's a miracle as it very well might be. Wouldn't it be great if we all could remain calm and cheerful in the face of every circumstance? I'm confident this will happen some day--when Christ returns. I'd like to work with someone like Harry.
Gregory Kane09/24/07
This is lovely with a clear, affirming message. The dialogue flows smoothly – maybe a bit preachy at points, but not enough to make you jump to the next paragraph. One suggestion – your piece is a little lacking in description of the setting. I could hear the characters but I couldn’t see them.
dub W09/24/07
This story is good, really good. A missed comma, a couple of quote marks missing, but the dialogue and meaning were well done. I think this needs to be in the puppy pen.
Betty Castleberry09/24/07
Wish we could all have Harry's faith. The message in this story is wonderful, and one we recently discussed in my Sunday School class. Good work.
Brandi Roberts09/24/07
A VERY sweet story. I loved it. Though I was a tad confused just after Mike told Harry about him losing his job... it says "Sometimes I hate my job" but isn't italicized like a thought, and doesn't have quotations around it to be something oral.

Other than that... it's just what I'd expect outta you!
c clemons09/26/07
Kinda sugary but I liked it anyway. I suspect Harry was pensioned eligible and knew by leaving he would be making way for someone else to keep their job. The ending gave the clue to what Harry's next assignment was. Good job.
Leigh MacKelvey09/26/07
Yo! You made it into the puppy pen! This deserves a nod from dub. I enjoyed it, too. Very uplifting. I kept thinking of the commercial where the guy is crunching cereal at work and he can't hear his boss telling him he's fired, so he just keeps smiling and nodding his head.
Good job with the topic!