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

TITLE: Ain't Gonna Wear No Wings
By Joy Faire Stewart
10/31/07


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“I done told you, Missy, I ain’t gonna wear no wings!” Gus shouted.

“Gus, we need a strong presence to portray Gabriel in the play,” Parthena said - not adding that Gus was the only child tall enough to wear the adult costume.


***

Parthena Cornwell loved her job at Livingston’s Bakery. The fragrances of baking cranberry-orange muffins, date cookies, lemon bars, and all the other rich, spicy aromas permeated the small shop.

“Miss Cornwell, I can pay you twenty-five pounds annually,” Mr. Livingston offered the day she applied for the job.

Walking to work in this unfamiliar part of Gloucester, she noticed the ragtag group of street children. She had heard rumors of England’s hungry orphans.

“I just didn’t realize their plight was so severe,” she cried to Mr. Livingston one morning.

The kind baker considered for a moment and then spoke.

“Miss Cornwell, if you will contribute an extra hour each day, I will contribute ingredients for breads. You may use the ovens on Saturday evenings when the shop is closed.”

That day, Parthena’s Bread Basket ministry began.

***

Standing taller, but just as scruffy as the other children, Gus was clearly the leader of the gang of waifs. Thaddeus, thirteen-years-old, shyly stood a slight distance away. Edwin, the youngest of the group, was playing in the dirt. Parthena coaxed names from the other children...Sarah, Rowena, Bernard, Patrick...

“Mr. Livingston, these children need Christian guidance,” Parthena declared one evening while locking the shop. As she distributed savory tartlets and cheese scones to the children the next day, she got an idea and announced, “You are all invited to my home at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon.”

Not having time-pieces, the children drifted onto Parthena’s porch throughout Sunday afternoon. Most were early, some were late, but she didn’t mind. She read Bible stories, and had prayer as the children gathered around her, consuming scriptures much like they had devoured treats the day her Bread Basket had begun.

Their favorite Bible story was Joseph and his coat of many colors, and she used the opportunity to teach the children forgiveness. Closing class for the afternoon, she sang Bethlehem Fair until the children memorized the words.

Are you going to Bethlehem Fair?
Frankincense, gold and myrrh;
Remember me to the child born there,
He has come to save the world.

Tell his mother there’ll be no more weeping,
Frankincense, gold and myrrh;
The stable is warm and the babe is sleeping,
He has come to save the world.


She was flabbergasted when Thaddeus fished a harmonica from his pocket and began to play as the motley group sang.

***

“I want to do something special for the children,” she told Mr. Livingston one morning as they placed the last batch of raisin cookies in the oven. She thought a moment and then clapped her hands together with excitement. “We’ll have a Christmas play!”

“But, Parthena, it’s July.”

“That’s why it’s perfect. The church won’t be using their Christmas costumes, so we can borrow them.”

Taking care to choose each part and costume for the children, Parthena began rehearsals. Everyone was excited about telling the Christmas story - all except Gus. Refusing to wear the angel wings, he stomped from the porch and disappeared.

Parthena sighed. “Thaddeus, why won’t Gus wear the wings?”

Rubbing his palms against the sides of his ragged shirt, Thaddeus answered.

“Well, it’s like this... Gus had a dog named Newton. He loved that dog. One day, we told Gus we seen Newon lying in the street where a carriage had done run him over. By the time Gus got there, the birds had...”

“Oh,” Parthena sobbed, stopping him. “I had no idea...”

***

Candles illuminated Parthena’s porch as the children recreated the Christmas story that warm July evening. After everyone had departed, she snuffed out the last candle and heard a noise. Turning, she saw Gus sitting on a rock in her garden.

“Gus,” she cried, “I am so sorry.”

With a crooked grin, he looked down at his torn shirt. “Not `zactly a coat of many colors...but if I forgive, will it make me like Joseph?”

____________________________________________________________

Bethlehem Fair by Chuck Beard, to the tune of “Scarborough Fair.”
To hear a sample of the song, go to http://www.beardmusic.com.
“Scarborough Fair” written in Medieval England, Author Unknown.


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This article has been read 968 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood11/01/07
I really enjoyed this story! Wonderful descriptions and dialogue--I could see and hear the street children and smell those bakery muffins. I liked the mention of specific treats, etc.

Great message, too--I like the way the caring teacher found out what was bothering the main boy. Wonderful title--it sparked my curiosity. Great job!
Debi Derrick11/02/07
This is such a great story; so well written and engaging.
Betty Castleberry11/04/07
Unique take on the topic. It's well written, and held my attention. I like Parthena.
Jan Ackerson 11/04/07
Extremely creative! What wonderful characters you've given us...I love this.
Sheri Gordon11/05/07
Very creative for the topic. You had my mouth drooling with all the goodies being baked. Very good writing. So enjoyable to read.
Lisa Graham11/06/07
This entry is rich with superb descriptions and imagery. The story is well-told and holds the reader's interest from the beginning all the way to the surprise ending. I liked this story very much!
Lynda Schultz 11/06/07
Lovely period piece. Well done.
LauraLee Shaw11/06/07
I love your title, and your storytelling is excellent!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/07/07
You did an excellent job with the setting--took us to a unique time and place.
Brenda Welc11/07/07
Well done! Thanks for sharing this! Good writing!
Joanne Sher 11/07/07
Wonderful descriptions, and sense of place. I was right there. This story is just lovely.
Loren T. Lowery11/07/07
I really liked Parthena's "never say die" attitude brought out by her reply to the question of Christmas in July. She had a vision and it reached out to help many of God's children.
LaNaye Perkins11/07/07
Well Done!
Linda Roth11/12/07
I like the way you used description to bring these characters and this story to life! I’d like to visit that bakery. On the other hand, you made me feel like I’ve already been there.
Helen Dowd 11/18/07
Excellent! If I had to score this on the basis of 1 - 10, 10 being the highest, I would score it 10+. This is an excellent story for the topic of Sunday School. God bless you as you continue your ministry of writing and serving the Lord in other ways. And by the way, being a Siamese cat lover (I have 2), I love your kitty on your profile page.... Helen