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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: One Sundress and Two Aprons
By Betty Castleberry


The faint bubbling of the fountain was the only sound in the quiet of the morning until the singing began. The voice was clear and feminine. Cinnamon stepped from the porch and followed the sound to the fence. She peeked through a gap in the pickets. In the yard next door stood a slim young woman, trimming rose bushes while she sang.

Cinnamon called through the fence. “Hello.”

The young woman stopped singing and looked in Cinnamon’s direction. “Hello.”

“You have a lovely voice.”

She approached Cinnamon, smiling. “Thanks. I just sing for my own pleasure.”

“Well you brought me pleasure today.

“I can’t see you well. Will you come around to the gate?”

They soon stood face to face. Cinnamon noticed the younger woman’s shiny dark hair and ice blue eyes. Her skin was smooth and lightly tanned, and she wore a fresh pink sun dress.

Cinnamon was suddenly aware of her faded Bermuda shorts and old blouse. “I’m Cinnamon Parker. Welcome to the neighborhood.”

“Thanks. I’m Dena Rogers.”

“Are you all moved in?”


“If you need anything, my sister Clove and I are right next door.”

“I appreciate that.”

“Why don’t you come over for lunch? Clove’s making beef stew. There will be plenty. I’m sure you don’t have time to cook right now.”

“That sounds nice. My husband won’t be here for lunch today.”

“Good. We’ll eat in about an hour. I’ll tell Clove to set another place.”

Cinnamon went inside where her sister was reading the paper at the kitchen table. “I’ve just talked to our new neighbor.”

Clove looked up. “Oh?”

“Yes. She seems nice, and she’s coming for lunch. Bet you’ll like her.”

“I’m anxious to meet her.”

She tied her apron on. “Let’s finish up the stew.”

They worked until the doorbell rang. Cinnamon invited Dena into the kitchen to meet her sister. Clove took in the attractive young lady. “Welcome to the neighborhood. My, aren’t you pretty?”

Dena smiled. “Thank you.”

Cinnamon patted Dena affectionately. “She has a beautiful singing voice, too. Why don’t you entertain us?”

“I couldn’t.”

“Of course you could. We’d love to hear you, wouldn’t we Clove?”


Dena smiled and offered a familiar ballad.

When she finished, the two sisters clapped spontaneously. Clove spoke. “That was just lovely. You know, Cinnamon and I used to sing a little in the church choir.”

Cinnamon wiped her hands across her apron. “Oh now, Clove. That was nothing.”

“I’d like to hear you.” Dena nodded towards the sisters.

“We won’t sound nearly as good as you.”


The two older ladies didn’t hesitate long. They sang a chorus of “Amazing Grace” in shaky voices.

Dena clapped politely.

Clove laughed. “We’re out of practice.

Let’s eat.”

Lunch was spent in pleasant conversation. Clove served a three layered fudge masterpiece for dessert. Dena only picked at it.

Cinnamon eyed her plate. “You’re not eating much today, dear.”

“I’ve got so much on my mind with this move.” She swung her dark tresses over her shoulders. “In fact, I really need to get home. Thank you for lunch.”

“Of course. Come back any time.”

Clove saw Dena out and then returned to the kitchen. “Cinnamon, she’s adorable. She’s so pretty, and sweet, and she has such a lovely voice.”

“I agree. We’re going to like having her next door.”

The sisters puttered the afternoon away. Cinnamon wandered back out to the porch where she often enjoyed the sunset. Just as she had settled into her favorite wicker chair, she heard voices next door. She recognized Dena’s voice immediately. Cinnamon went to the gate and was about to open it. When she heard her name, she stopped and listened.

“Guess what I did today, Mike? I had lunch with the Spice Girls.”

A male voice answered. “Sure you did.”

“I went to the neighbor’s house. They’re two old ladies named Cinnamon and Clove. They wear sloppy clothes and aprons, of all things. They served me beef stew. Greasy beef with some mushy vegetables. Then they served me chocolate cake, which I barely touched. It would have ruined my figure. They gobbled it down, though. No wonder they’re both so fat. It’s pathetic.”

There was a pause. “They even tried to sing. They sounded like old hens cackling. Now that I’ve met them, I’m going to avoid them.”

Cinnamon dropped her hand from the latch and walked away, being careful not to make a sound.

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This article has been read 1293 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Temple Miller01/31/08
Oh how very sad. My heart broke for the "Spice Girls." Your language presented a vivid picture for my senses and your story touched my emotions.
Lynda Schultz 01/31/08
How very mean-spirited! You hit the theme dead on. Nicely done.
Peter Stone01/31/08
But, Dena seemed such a lovely young lady! Great job at revealing what really lay within.
LauraLee Shaw01/31/08
This is a perfectly lovely story--until the end. How awful! Something similar to this actually happened to me in 6th grade, and it hurt so badly at the time. Cute touch with their names being Cinnamon and Spice (and everything nice).
Joanne Sher 02/01/08
Ouch. Looks certainly CAN be deceiving. Excellent portrayal of the message here.
Sheri Gordon02/01/08
This is a wonderful illustration of the topic. You did a good job with Dena's personality. And the dialogue was realistic.
Karen Treharne02/01/08
Great illustration of the topic and I love the title! I enjoyed your take and your writing was colorful and descriptive. Good job!
Hanne Moon 02/02/08
How mean! Can I bop her?? LOL Great job with the topic!
Shirley McClay 02/02/08
Totally caught me by surprise! What a horrible person! I want to move in next to those sweet ladies. This story hit me... I have a bit of fear of this happening to me. Well done though ;-)You got an emotional response, for sure. I love those older ladies and want to tell the other one off!
Kristen Hester02/03/08
Oh, how sad! This was a lovely story. Since I know the topic, I kept waiting to learn what was the glitter that wasn't gold. You still surprised me. Nicely told.
Paula Titus 02/03/08
This dialogue just reeled me right in, and made me want to cry for the old sisters :(
Wonderful story!
Phyllis Inniss02/04/08
You are quite a story teller. You held my interest throughout and that final touch made a poignant end to the story and illustrated the subject very well.
Randy Chambers02/04/08
Great story. Great dialogue. Nice finish! Great message.
I was reminded of something Jesus said, “…You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean” (Mt. 23:27).
Laury Hubrich 02/04/08
Ooooh, right on topic and positively cruel! I like these two old women! I can relate to them: fat and can't sing and love to eat chocolate cake! LOL! Great writing!
william price02/04/08
Your in top form on this one. Very well written and extremely entertaining. Classical!!!!!!!
God bless.
Linda Watson Owen02/04/08
I haven't often experienced anything like these sweet ladies did, but the feeling you captured authentic to the actual experience--the sweet happiness suddenly shattered by the awful reality of being betrayed and offended. Perfectly captured here! The shock is still fresh as I write this. Great job!
Sharlyn Guthrie02/04/08
Ouch! You did a great job developing the sister characters, and their names are adorable. I didn't see the ending coming, but I should have, considering the topic!
LaNaye Perkins02/05/08
I feel like you captured the essence of this weeks challenge perfectly. Plus your message was excellent. I felt sorry for the Spice Girls too. Well done my friend.
L.M. Lee02/05/08
you knew a punch was coming...just not when. good piece
Jan Ackerson 02/05/08
Oooh, I'd like to tweak her nose! Great title, superb application of the proverb.
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/05/08
What excellent writing. A true contrast between what glitters on the outside (Dena) and what is truly gold on the inside (the sisters). How sad that this often happens every day in life. Great title, ending with with such impact. Great job!
Julie Ruspoli02/06/08
Aww. How mean.
I enjoyed reading the beginning so much I forgot the topcic till I read the ending. What a jolt to the warm fuzzy feeling the beginning gives you.
Great article.
Holly Westefeld02/06/08
I, too, liked the dialogue, and wish I had lovely sisters like these for neighbors.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
Ooooh! I feel so bad for Cinnamon! (and Clove!) You nailed the character of that girl, what a complete turnaround, the ending, wow, poor Cinnamon, to have heard all of that. You definitely had me caught up in the story though! Excellent writing ^_^
Joy Faire Stewart02/06/08
The story really touched me. The sisters were so kind and sweet, to have this happen was so sad. Excellent writing to be able to invoke strong emotions to your reader. Perfect!
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
Ouch! And I mean that in a good way. This delivered a right punch directly to the head and heart. Succinctly told with great emotional impact. I for one, would eat lunch with the "Spice Girls" anytime. : )
Karen Wilber02/06/08
I knew what the topic was this week. Still I was taken aback at how mean Dena was. You really made me dislike her. Good writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/08
For your realistic characterization and wonderful description, I applaud you. This is a memorable story.
william price02/06/08
I already told you I liked this...Yes, Yes I did. But, did I say I really, really liked it. If not, I really, really do:)
God bless.
Pat Guy 02/06/08
Boy ... you sure do know how to manipulate our emotions! I want to bop that young wipper-snapper on the head!

Great writing Betty! You nailed it all - topic, atmosphere, dialog, and emotion. Yep! You nailed it!
Debbie Wistrom02/06/08
I smiled at the reference of the Spice Girls. So right on topic, and on the head dialog. Thanks for the great read.
Pat Guy 02/07/08
Whoop! Whoop! And congratulaions my fine and feathery friend! ;) Enjoy the dance today - squeeling with ya.
Sheri Gordon02/07/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is a great story.
Dee Yoder 02/07/08
Congratulations, Betty!! Woo hooo!!!

I wish I'd had the chance to read this before-it's so poignant and such a great take on the topic. It's a wonderful example of this proverb-and made me hot under the collar, too, at that young lady! Love your sister characters.
Joy Faire Stewart02/07/08
This is a well deserved winner. Congratulations!
william price02/07/08
I'm so glad this placed, Betty, becaise like I said, and said:) I LIKE IT! Congrats!!!
Sara Harricharan 02/08/08
***Congratulations!*** Yay for Betty! ^_^
Catrina Bradley 02/12/08
Great job, Betty. Congratulations! :) Cat