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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)

TITLE: Swayed
By Joanne Sher


Jeremy bounced across the living room and tapped his father on the shoulder.

"Can we go now? I don't wanna be late."

Hank Miller turned off the television and got out of his easy chair reluctantly. "Just a second. We've got time. Lemme throw on some clothes."

Hank sloughed into the bedroom and slipped on some jeans and a sweatshirt, then put on his tennis shoes. At least I'll have extra time to get some stuff done around the house. With my busy week, Sunday morning alone time is definitely a plus.

Hank had been dropping Jeremy off at church on Sunday mornings at 10am for a few years. Hank had no interest himself, but his son seemed to have some friends there - and he'd noticed an improvement in his behavior. It did mean, however, that he had to get himself moving an hour earlier than he'd like on his day off. Yet, it gave him that needed puttering time, without distractions.

A couple weeks before, however, Jeremy asked to go in even earlier - it seemed that "Sunday School" started at 9, and Jeremy was missing it. It was definitely a tradeoff for Hank: he'd lose an hour of sleep, but gain 60 more minutes of peace and quiet.

Hank figured he'd give it a try for a week or two. He couldn't imagine an extra hour at church would hurt the boy, and maybe Hank could finish an extra project or two while Jeremy was gone.

Jeremy was already in the car, buckled in, when Hank entered the garage. He took his car keys from his pocket and got in next to his son.

"Guess I don't have to ask if you're ready."

Jeremy smiled. "Nope."

Hank pulled the car out of the driveway and began the five-minute drive to Covenant Community Church.

"Hey, Dad?"

Hank suspected he knew what his son was thinking. "What, Jeremy?"

"Why don't you come to Sunday School and church with me today?"

I was right. Hank sighed and grimaced. "Got a lot to do at home this morning, buddy. Maybe some other time."

"You always say that." Jeremy's face was downcast.

Hank pursed his lips. "Not this time."

"What do you have against church anyway?"

"Um, against it?" Hank sputtered. "Nothing. I just, um, like my Sunday mornings."

Jeremy's eyes sparkled. "But Sunday School is different, Dad. It's really cool. Instead of just listening and singing and stuff, you get to talk to people about God, and even ask questions. I'll bet you'd love it."

Hank pulled into a parking spot in the church's lot. "We'll talk about this later. You'd better get going."

Jeremy sighed. "Okay. But will you promise me something?"

Hank raised his eyebrows. "Maybe. What?"

"Will you talk to God about it for a couple minutes, here in the car, before you go?"

Jeremy's look was so pitiful Hank had to acquiesce. "All right. You go on, though."

Jeremy exited and lumbered toward the church, his head down. Hank saw his son pause directly behind the car, as if he was considering coming back. He continued on after a minute or so.

Good thing he asked me to pray here. I mighta run him over.

Hank closed his eyes once Jeremy entered the church building.

"Hey, God. I know I don't talk to you much, but my boy wants me to go into that church today. I don't wanna, but I told him I'd talk to you. Can I just go home now?"

Hank sat quietly for about thirty seconds. Assuming no response was permission to leave, he started the car and began backing up. After moving only a foot or so, he heard a loud pop, then felt the drive get rough.

"What the heck?" Hank turned off the car and got out, to find his left rear tire flat.

"Well, God, I guess you answered me."

Hank reparked the car and walked toward church.


"Dad!" Jeremy ran down the hallway when he spotted his father exiting an adult Sunday School class.

"Hi, Son." Hank put his arm around him. "You were right, by the way. Sunday School wasn't half bad."

Jeremy smiled. "So, are you staying for church?"

"I suppose I am. Will you help me with my flat tire afterward?"

"Um, a flat tire?" Jeremy pursed his lips and stuck his hand in his pocket, causing a clinking sound.

Hank looked at Jeremy quizzically. "Whatcha got in your pocket?"

"You probably don't wanna know."

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This article has been read 1451 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Burkum11/01/07
A neat story, with an ending that made me smile!
LauraLee Shaw11/02/07
Cute story, and how I LOVE a happy ending...
Ann Renae Hair11/02/07
Sometimes "naughty" is good? Oh, I LOVED it! Great job my friend!
Lynda Schultz 11/03/07
Interesting method of "persuasion." Great story.
Betty Castleberry11/04/07
Love the twist at the end. I sure didn't see it coming. Nicely written. Kudos, my friend.
Jan Ackerson 11/04/07
Oh good grief, this is probably the best ending EVER!

Did you really mean "sloughed" in an early paragraph? Maybe "slouched" would be better? (Unless, of course, Hank is shedding skin as he goes...)

This story is utterly and truly delightful.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/04/07
Very cute story. Good thing this dad was basically good natured. I'm not sure the boy's course of action would fly with most fathers. I have to admit, it was creative, though.
Kristen Hester11/04/07
Oh, I just want to give Jeremy a big hug. How adorable is he? This was great!
Karen Wilber11/04/07
Love the dad's prayer in the context of the story. Lots of nice visual words: grimaced, bounced, lumbered. The ending is great.

One thing I wonder - "Jeremy exited and lumbered toward the church, his head down. Hank saw his son pause directly behind the car, as if he was considering coming back. He continued on after a minute or so." - This might be a little clearer on what path he took and how long he stayed, just for the visualization. Or it might just be me. ;-)

Sara Harricharan 11/06/07
Cute. I guess he really wanted his dad to come. ^_^ Loved the ending. Good twist.
Leigh MacKelvey11/06/07
You had me engaged form beginning to end. Cute surprise ending!
Chrissi Dunn11/06/07
Loved the ending - Well done!
william price11/06/07
What a classic, creative, entertaining, memorable, masterful ending. I loved it. Very, very good. God bless.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/07/07
You really made us see Jeremy and his dad. Great job. Let me see, doesn't that verse say, "And a little child shall flatten their dad's tire"?
Joy Faire Stewart11/07/07
I always enjoy your entries...your reader can depend on a entertaining piece and great message.
Pam Carlson-Hetland11/07/07
Loved it. You described the characters very well. Very realistic. And, as noted many times, the chuckle-provoking twist at the end was perfect. Excellent.
Sandra Petersen 11/07/07
Ooh! I think I know Jeremy's secret!

This was fun to read and right on the money as far as many adults' responses about Sunday school. I used to do it that way myself years ago.

That was a great ending, and it wasn't until now that I realized why Jeremy stopped behind the car before going in. Cute.
Loren T. Lowery11/07/07
I was looking more for a "Touched by an Angel" ending to this story, instead you gave me devilish real-life, wonderful one instead. I truly enjoyed this piece!
Sheri Gordon11/07/07
Very creative -- as always. Your writing is so easy to read -- the descriptions put the reader right in the scene. Another good entry.
Peter Stone11/07/07
Well, that's one way to get someone to attend Sunday School! I wonder if I should try it...Well done.
Patty Wysong11/08/07
I LOVED this, Jo!! I could see it every step of the way, and hear it. I loved the dad's prayer, too--just wish I knew why that tire went flat!! Congrats, friend! Hugs!!! :-)
Sheri Gordon11/08/07
Congratulations on your EC. This was another entertaining entry from you. Good job.
terri tiffany11/08/07
Congrats on your win!! This was a delightful story - good dialogue and loved the ending!!
Therese Witkus11/08/07
Great story and message. The characters were wonderful.
I love the line, "Good thing he asked me to pray here. I mighta run him over."
Congratulations on the EC!
Laury Hubrich 11/09/07
How did I miss this one? What a great story and what a conniving little boy! Congratulations on your 4th place E.C. Very well deserved!
Catrina Bradley 11/09/07
Told you it was awesome. :) Congrats, my friend, God is taking you places with your writing.
Mo 11/10/07
Nice story! Congrats on another EC!
Sandra Corona11/17/07
What a wonderful story and it was well written to boot!
God bless!