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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: Mr. Know-It-All Takes the Lead
By Dee Yoder


“This has got to be the longest trail in the world,” I complain. “How many hours have we been out here?”

“It’s ten miles from start to finish. It seems longer to you because you’ve never done it before. I warned you it would be too tough for your first hike, but...” he shrugs.

The new boots I’m wearing feel like they weigh ten pounds each; I’m pretty sure once I take my socks off, I’m going to find shredded flesh where my heels used to be. I begged to come, but I didn’t know it would be this hard and tiring. I’m grumpy, too. John, being the experienced hiker, has irritated me with his constant advice. He’s turned into Mr. Know-It-All. Before this fiasco, I used to like my husband.

“Where are we going to camp tonight?” I ask again as I brush away the bugs.

“At the top of Chilhowie, Sandra. I’ve told you that five times already.”

He’s getting very close to becoming a casualty on this trail, I think as I glare at the back of his head.

“You don’t have to act like I’m an imbecile, ” I mutter under my breath. Though I’m a novice, I think I’ve done fairly well keeping up with him. Of course, he pointed out to me the many mistakes I’ve made along the way, and this has set my teeth on edge.

The emotional distance between the two of us burns my heart. I’d wanted to have time alone with him. I’d imagined conversations, laughter, and even a little flirting on this journey. But it hasn’t been that way at all. I’ve worried him no end in my ignorance, and I’m not happy being told what to do by the “expert”. First, he couldn’t believe I started this hike in brand new boots. Then he was critical of all the stuff I packed in my backpack. When he turned out to be right, and I couldn’t carry the load any more, he’d carried my backpack, too, but couldn’t resist saying, “I tried to tell you.” Grrr. I don’t dare say anything about the condition of my feet.

The last hour of the hike we barely speak to each other. Finally, when I think I can’t take another step, he points to a sign that says “Camp Chilhowie.” I moan in anticipation of blissful rest, and as we walk through the campground, darkness settles over the hilltop like a heavy curtain. My mistakes have cost us daylight and, in minutes, I can’t see anything beyond the campfires and lanterns.

I point to a clearing on the outskirts of the campground. “That looks like a good spot.”

He scans the area as he shakes his head. “It’s too far away from the others. There’s got to be a reason why no one has claimed it.”

I stomp my foot in frustration. “John! Can’t I be trusted to even choose a spot without a lecture?” He sighs and gives in wearily.

In the glow of the campfire, John starts. I try to help him set up our camp, but I have no idea what to do. I locate a level place and with little assist from me, he pitches the tent; he’s fussing and grumbling the whole time. We finally fall into our sleeping bags in exhausted huffs. So much for togetherness.

The sound of John’s Bible pages shuffling wakes me. He glances my way and keeps reading.

“Not even a ‘good morning’, huh?” I grouse.


“I’m heading for the shower, John.”

“Okay.” He keeps reading.

I shrug myself out of the sleeping bag and open the tent flap, and when I look out, I gasp. I can see that in the dark last night, I directed John to pitch our tent on the rim of a precipice! Angels must have kept us from hurtling over the side when we stumbled to bed because the path we took is no more than two feet from the edge.

“John! Look!” He scoots over to the opening and leans out.

His astonished face turns pale and then he bursts into laughter. He grabs his Bible and holds it out to me, his finger pointing to a verse.

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall*,” I read. I feel my face flush and my heart pound at my foolishness.

“Next time, John, I’ll listen and learn,” I promise with a shaky laugh.

*Proverbs 16:18, The Holy Bible, New International Version

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This article has been read 1325 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patty Wysong01/24/08
Oh, did this bring back memories of Heartbreak Ridge! Good job capturing the emothions of the hike.
LauraLee Shaw01/24/08
Oh my, can I relate to this one! My husband and I have had similar experiences with almost anything outdoors, or to do with finances, or trip planning...well. Anyway, you did a good job of placing me in the middle of the hike. It can be very humbling to learn from our spouses, but beneficial, too!
Sara Harricharan 01/25/08
Heehee. I'm glad they're okay. That's a really close call. The title was catchy-it made me want to keep reading. This was pretty good, my favorite line was where Sandra said "And I used to like my husband" all because he'd morphed into Mr. Know It All. Great stuff! ^_^
Catrina Bradley 01/27/08
Love this! I wanted to tell her to quit complaining and just listen to one who knows better. The campsite being on a precipice surprised me, and the Bible verse he happened to be reading was perfect. That's just like God, isn't it.
Shirley McClay 01/27/08
I love this one! Not boring at all. I don't usually comment because I am so new at this, but I had to on yours. I tend to skim but I read every word of this story. It drew me in and kept my attention. I figured something might happen at the campsite but didn't expect the precipice. I would love to read this in an extended version.
Jan Ackerson 01/27/08
Excellent use of present tense, if gives this a sense of immediacy and intimacy. Really good story, Dee, with a twist I really didn't see coming.
Betty Castleberry01/27/08
I like the casual voice, and the interaction between the husband and wife. The ending was great too.
Sally Hanan01/27/08
You captured married life so well!!
Red ink: I don't know if she would admit being wrong quite so quickly. If it were me, I'd just mumble something and admit being wrong later.
william price01/27/08
"He’s getting very close to becoming a casualty on this trail..."
My fav line. Great story, pace and reader interest. Not boring at all, I found it very entertaining. God bless.
Kristen Hester01/28/08
This is great! The writing is top notch. You kept my interest and the ending was wonderful. Two thumbs up.
Debbie Wistrom01/28/08
How true we wives can be, I remember a similar golf outing. You put me right there. Great job with the topic.
Joy Faire Stewart01/28/08
Excellent job with dialogue. The emotions are so real, you place your reader on the trail with your MC.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/28/08
This is an excellent commentary on marriage and leadership/submission issues. I think we've all been there, if not on an actual precipice, maybe a spiritual or emotional one. Nice job!
Sheri Gordon01/28/08
This is really good ... not boring at all. I was engaged from the beginning, and totally didn't see the end comming. Great illustration of the topic.
Hanne Moon 01/28/08
This was great! How often have I said "He’s getting very close to becoming a casualty..." in so many things with my husband! You did great with the reality of married life.
Lynda Schultz 01/28/08
I think I only did tents once, and I never told anyone about making the Koolaid out of lake water. I feel your pain! Good work.
Julie Ruspoli01/28/08
This was so nice to read. I enjoyed every line. Right on topic and a great message. Wonderful job!
Glynis Becker01/28/08
Extremely enjoyable and very much like real life. Great job!
Lyn Churchyard01/29/08
great story Dee! It captured the feelings of the characters very well.

"He’s getting very close to becoming a casualty on this trail" laughed out loud at this one.

Finding themselves on the edge of a precipice in the morning brought back very vivid memories for me!
Loren T. Lowery01/29/08
I think you got into Sandra's mind beautifully and her inner dialogue and turmoil was great. I knew something was coming when she finally "got her way" but I wasn't expecting the precipice, but it all tied together just as should have to deliver your message. Great writing - as always.
Colin Swann01/30/08
An OK title, but a good piece. Got to be one of the best it's been read 4 times mor than some. I'm hoping some day to stumble over the secret of how to get my pieces read more. Good job! Keep writing!
Angela M. Baker-Bridge01/30/08
What a riot! Been there, done that. Seems like you have a winner.
Peter Stone01/30/08
Enjoyed the realistic banter between the couple, and the ending was a surprise. I thought a bear or something, but a cliff!
Temple Miller01/30/08
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/30/08
Such a delightful clever piece by a wonderfully creative writer. I loved this.
Beth LaBuff 01/30/08
Your story is so skillfully written and perfect for the topic. I love that you intertwined the verse with it. Very, very nice work!
LauraLee Shaw01/31/08
Congratulations on your EC!!!! Who's in the lead now, huh? Give your hubby a nudge... ;)
Sara Harricharan 01/31/08
***Congratulations, Dee!***
Beth LaBuff 01/31/08
Yay Dee! Congrats on your level placing and EC with this!!!
Sheri Gordon01/31/08
Way to go Dee. Big congratulations on your EC. Great piece. Are you movin' on up yet? :)
Loren T. Lowery01/31/08
Way to go, Dee! Isn't it time you moved up with the rest of us? Your writing certainly deserves it.
Dianne Janak01/31/08
Congratulations DEE.. absolutely love your writing.. if you are moving up now, I am excited for you and for the rest of us in advanced, for selfish reasons.. you are truly a Master whether its now or later..> Dianne
Mariane Holbrook 01/31/08
Terrific win, Dee. Many congrats! You deserve to move on up and you'll give them a run for their money! **smile**
Linda Watson Owen01/31/08
Oh, Dee, this is a great story! I felt like I was right there the whole time! Congratulations on your win. It's sooo well deserved!!
Joanney Uthe01/31/08
Dee, what a wonderful job you do at expressing the wife's feelings. This is some great writing. Congradulations!
Karen Wilber02/02/08
This is so good. I was laughing when I realized it was her husband she complained about. I sympathized with her sore feet. Didn't expect them to be right on the edge of a cliff. So many little details to keep the reader going... Congrats on EC.
Ann Renae Hair05/11/08
Just read this thanks to Jan's class!
Great job. I wonder if the symbolism was intended for their marriage falling off the cliff if she didn't get a new attitude!!!
Glad for the opportunity to give a belated congrats!