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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: BJ and the Beads
By Pam Richards


“That’s it! That’s exactly what I’m looking for! In just the right color!”

After searching through pages and pages of upholstery trims on the Internet, Anne finally found what she was looking for. The living room redo could proceed as planned. The 3” medallion buttons in light teal tones with beads in the center were the perfect accent. These would transform the $75 dollar used sofa into a designer piece. The outlet fabric and fringe waited patiently in the garage, and she could now let Wes, the upholsterer, know everything was ready.

Anne loved finding work for Wes although he stayed busy without her help. Wes exclaimed on their first meeting that he was “saved, delivered from drug use, and married all on the same day.” He had been clean for several years and when asked how he had stayed that way, his response was an emphatic, “I stay in the Word!”

When Wes completed his handiwork, the “new” sofa and chair were beautiful compliments to the pale peach wingback with the Oriental scene and the timeless cherry pieces. An elegant look on a budget was the result, and Anne considered finding the medallions providential.

Anne felt blessed to have a comfortable and safe home to share with a loving husband and a very large extended family. Growing up in government housing projects probably had something to do with her love for decorating and redecorating. She and Rob were empty nesters now, and nothing thrilled them more than visits from their daughter, her husband, and their new son BJ.

That little guy brought immeasurable joy into their lives. He weighed in at almost ten pounds at birth with so much black hair he looked as if he were wearing a wig. Who would have thought such a tiny person—just now graduating from scooting and crawling to pulling himself up—could have an innate sense of humor unsurpassed by most adults. By now a very odd thing had happened on top of his head: the long locks on one half were replaced by black peach fuzz, and the hair on the other half of his head remained thick and long. Surely the peculiar look was well-suited to accompany this laughing boy who loved sounds and music and fun.

BJ apparently shared his grandmother’s fascination with those medallions on the arms of the sofa, because every time she turned around he had pulled his solid little body up—the buttons were right at mouth height for him—and he would suck on the beads until someone would come along and make him stop. Finally, his mother took away his recreation with the beads by covering them with masking tape. He moved on to other forms of amusement that Nana and Pop-Pop were more than willing to provide. He never tired of being “chased” by them down the hallway, giggling all the way.

After the visit ended Anne removed the masking tape and the beads appeared to have withstood the test of the toddler. However, a week later the truth surfaced. The beads on the left medallion had simply disappeared. She surmised they were in their final resting place inside the vacuum cleaner bag. Lonely threads protruded from the button center like a road going nowhere. It is possible Anne is the only one who ever noticed the beads in the first place, and unlikely anyone else will miss them now.

Anne grabs a book and sits opposite the sofa. Her eyes go to the beadless button, but that is not what she sees. She sees and hears and remembers the sounds of life lived out in this room. She smiles and her heart overflows with thanks and praise. The beads may have broken from the sofa, but the threads uniting her family are strong. Their Heavenly Father has woven them together in His love.

…and a threestrand cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12b (21st Century KJV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 02/14/08
Your description of the grandchild is perfect. I've been the chaser "chasing down the hallway with giggling all the way". Your MC found what was really important -- the sounds of life lived in the room and her thanksgiving and praise. Your writing is very heart-warming. I enjoyed this and it made me long for my grandchildren. :)
Debbie Wistrom02/15/08
Wonderful! Great use for the topic. Keep writing! Would like more on Wes some time.....
Laury Hubrich 02/16/08
A grandma definitely wrote this story! Good job!
Joanne Sher 02/22/08
Congratulations, Pam, on placing 15th in your level with this piece. Great work!