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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: Keeping Company
By Patty Wysong


“Mom! They're here!” The door slammed closed just before Lacey got there, making the windows rattle.

When will they learn to close the door without slamming it? Lacey pulled the door open and smiled at the sight of kids tumbling out of Amanda's van. Within moments there were six kids running around the yard and the normal volume had quadrupled. Good thing we live in the country; this noise would drive neighbors nuts.

“What a wonderful yard, Lacey; no wonder you love it out here.” Amanda smiled as the kids ran past, pouncing on the scooters for a spin around the deck. “Wow, I love this deck, and your flowers are beautiful.” Walking over she gently fingered a blossom. “Look at your pots; how charming.”

Lacey laughed. “Drew hates them. Mom thought the kids might be able to play with them in the sand box, but I nabbed them so I wouldn't have to buy pots.”

Lacey scanned the yard, counting kids. “C'mon in. These guys will be fine for awhile and we can enjoy some iced tea before they miss us.”

Amanda stood inside the door, her mouth hanging slightly open as she looked around. “Isn't this a pole-barn house?”


“You'd never know it from in here; it's beautiful. You are so lucky...” Amanda's voice trailed off as she followed Lacey through the living room and into the kitchen. “Ok, now I'm positively green.”

Lacey turned away from the cabinet and looked at her friend. “Green?” she asked.

“Definitely green with envy,” Amanda responded. She walked to a cabinet and smoothed a hand over the oak door. “This kitchen is gorgeous, and it's so big and airy.”

“Oh, don't be green.” Lacey quickly said. “You have to remember Drew's a contractor, but his first love is building furniture. He made my cabinets,” she chuckled. “He built this place from the ground up, while we lived in it. Trust me, that's the only way we could afford vaulted ceilings and skylights.” Lord, please don't let her be jealous. It'll ruin our friendship and her life.

“You lived here while it was being built?”

“Yeah. You should've seen us: two preschoolers and a toddler. It was constant chaos.”

“Wouldn't it have been easier to just buy a house?”

“We were working with limited resources and wanted to borrow as little as possible. We saved a ton of money by taking our time and doing it ourselves. So tell me, are you glad you've moved back home?” Lacey asked.

“Well,” Amanda began, stirring sugar into her iced tea, “sometimes.”

Lacey cocked her head, listening as she squeezed a wedge of lemon and gave her tea a swirl.

“We had a real nice house but when we moved back here we had to choose between smaller and nice or larger. We went larger because of the kids.”

“I take it your new house isn't as nice?”

Amanda groaned. “It doesn't even come close to being nice; it needs so much work. Mark says we can do it ourselves and have it completely redone in five years, but it's awful right now and five years is a long time with little kids constantly underfoot.” She took a sip of tea and looked around Lacey's kitchen. “It's driving me crazy. I wish it looked like this,” she waved her hand indicating the kitchen.

“You'll make yourself miserable doing that, you know.”

“I think I'm already miserable.”

“Well, are you gonna stay that way?”

“You gonna keep me company?” Amanda asked with a smile.

“No way.”

“I didn't think you would; you've got it made.”

“What? Did you ever see what we lived in before we built this house? It was an ancient, tiny trailer. Our bed was side-by-side with our table, which was right next to the counter. The tile flooring was peeling and the bathroom was tiny--I couldn't turn around in it when I was pregnant.” Lacey shook her head. “Believe me, I know about being discontent with what you have, and I don't ever want to go back there. And I'm not talking about the trailer; I'm talking about being miserable and discontent. It wasn't until after I learned to be content where I was that we were able to build this house. No, I won't keep you company if you're going to make yourself miserable.”

“Thank you,” Amanda said quietly, with a small smile. “You're right. Why don't I keep you company instead?”

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This article has been read 764 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/17/08
Great reminder here. When I go to other's houses that are nicer or more "put together" than mine, I will remember this story.
Joanne Sher 01/17/08
Great descriptions and dialog - and an amazingly wonderful lesson for ALL of us (me included!).
Beth LaBuff 01/18/08
Yes -- great lesson here. I enjoyed the exchange between the two in the kitchen and the "misery loves company" allusion. :) Good work on this!
Sara Harricharan 01/18/08
What a great friendship is between those two! I'm glad that Lacey spoke up and helped Amanda move on from the 'misery' to the friendship where they can share everything with each other, even being honest about wanting a bigger house and all. ^_^
Karen Wilber01/20/08
Great last line!
Debbie Wistrom01/21/08
Loved the title and the dialog is so real. Keep it up.
Jan Ackerson 01/21/08
I love the line "I won't keep you company if you're going to make yourself miserable." I'm going to use that one!
Holly Westefeld01/22/08
Lacey's humility and sensitivity make all the difference in this story. The ability to put others at ease is a true gift.
Rita Garcia01/22/08
I love the honesty between these friends! Wonderful message! Great writing!
Catrina Bradley 01/22/08
Wonderful - on topic, a great read, and the last line is a kicker. Love the title too.
Red ink: this sentence could use some punctuation help:
“We had a real nice house but when we moved back here we had to choose between smaller and nice or larger."
Great job my friend! :)
Dee Yoder 01/23/08
Love the dialogue between these two friends. They share an open and honest relationship and you were able to make it shine with your characterizations.
Loren T. Lowery01/23/08
I really liked this story and the way it flowed. The friendship between the two women seemed genuine and the honest way they showed their feeling was refreshing. Great job.
Lisa Graham01/23/08
Super job with dialogue. I felt I was there for the conversation. And great job with the topic.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/23/08
You showed excellently with your story how one true friend can help another in a positive way.
Sally Hanan01/23/08
You managed to have a lot of dialogue without me even noticing the lack of description, which means that you are a master at it. :)I loved it all except for the very last line. I think it's because it felt a little lame after the transparency and honesty of the rest of the story.