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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: The Last Five Minutes
By Karen Ward


The words were finally flowing. I’d longed to write since I was a child, but the time was never right. Finally now, my boys were grown up, moved out, and working. We had made it alive and in fact, I was proud of the way they’d turned out. Mike was married and about to provide me with my first grandchild, Jake engaged to a godly girl, and Ian in India, volunteering his skills as a doctor. My role as a mother had changed from a constant source of food and comfort, to someone that you visit on Sundays for lunch. It wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. Finally, I was writing with consistency, fulfilling my lifelong dream.

“Mum!” the front door slammed, breaking the tranquillity. I turned towards the door of the study.

“In here.” The response was so automatic, I suddenly wondered if my role had changed at all.

“Mum.” Troubled eyes flashed from the face I’d loved for twenty four years. “Lili doesn’t want to be married at the SCG. I can’t believe it. I’m going to call it off. I’ve always wanted to be married at the SCG. She knew that. She says she thought I was joking. Why would I joke about something like that?”

Interesting. Jake had always loved cricket. He determined at age nine that if he ever got married it would be at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Someone on the news had been married there, and he thought it was great. Cricket was in his blood. He was chosen for the PM’s XI last year and I was sure he'd make the Australian team soon. I was surprised that Lili had said no, but then, I loved cricket, and I didn’t think it was the most romantic place to be married either.

“She says it’s just a stunt. It’s not a stunt. It’s what I’ve always wanted. If she won’t marry me there, she won’t marry me at all.”

He had always been stubborn about the little things. He kept talking, venting his frustration.

“Jake.” He didn’t even hear me.

“Jake!” He looked up from his ranting.

“Do you remember when you played Have-A-Go cricket? The year Mike saw the knee specialist?”

He shrugged.

“The first time I got him in to the specialist, it was just after cricket. You were only six. I told you that morning that we’d have to leave five minutes early so that we could get him to the appointment. You lost it. You didn’t want to leave early. You whinged, shouted, and told me I was mean. Finally I said if you didn’t stop, we wouldn’t go at all. I distinctly remember that I expected you to stop. You didn’t. You kept crying and screaming about the last five minutes."

“I ended up sending you to your room and then crying myself because I couldn’t believe you were going to miss out over that. I really wanted to take you, because I knew the last five minutes weren’t important. You didn’t believe me. Nothing could stop you. You cried for the whole hour and a half that we should have been there, and when I said cricket had finished, you stopped. But you made it clear that you thought it was my fault because leaving early was so horrible.”

I paused and looked him in the eye.

“Do you still think that was my fault?”

“Of course not. Giving up the whole game was stupid. I was a kid.”

“Right. Stupid. Wouldn’t have mattered in the long run eh?”


He looked confused. I wasn’t sure if he saw what I was getting at or not.

“Jake, darling, what do you want with Lili? Do you want a game, or just the last five minutes?”

I could see the truth dawning in his eyes. Thank Heavens maturity had taken the edge off his stubborn nature.

“The marriage is more important than the wedding venue?”

“What do you think?”

“I guess.”

“Go talk to her. Maybe she’ll come around. Maybe you’ll give in. But whatever happens, don’t throw away the marriage for the sake of the wedding, Jake. She loves you.

"I’m your mother, and it’s hard for me to believe anyone is good enough for you, but you know I love Lili. She’s worth it. Now go talk to her.”

My boy turned man rose and hugged me over the back of my chair, and my heart welled with happiness.

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This article has been read 892 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 02/22/08
Your title is perfect, as is your lesson. I smiled as I read of the son's obsession with a wedding location and the mother's wisdom in dealing with it. This entry is very creative.
Lori Othouse 02/22/08
This is sweet, loved the last line!
Patty Wysong02/22/08
I love this story! Very well done and right on target. The lesson is super, too.
Lynda Schultz 02/23/08
Right on the theme, I think, and an excellent lesson to boot! Good job.
Lyn Churchyard02/23/08
As much as I love cricket, I don't think I'd want to be married at the SCG.

Very well written, and a perfect example of the topic. Oh my, missing out on the game because of 5 minutes at the end. What a goose (or should that be a duck?).
Debbie Wistrom02/23/08
Sounded like a true slice of life, thanks for sharing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/24/08
This is a great story that perfectly illustrates the topic. I loved the wise mother, as well as the maturing son.
Sally Hanan02/24/08
Yup, thank goodness you had him listen to Mom. If you had ended it the other way, I'd have marked this one for a one-on-one as soon as your name showed up on it, hahaha.
Christine Miles02/25/08
Yes! And you know what I mean.
LauraLee Shaw02/27/08
What a moving storyline. How refreshing to see a son take advice BEFORE making the big mistake. Great wisdom here and VERY well-written.
Holly Westefeld02/27/08
I enjoyed this double illustration of the topic.
Suzanne R03/07/08
Ha! Lovely imaginings here ... I hope it comes true all, especially the writing dream, and except for the potential cancellation of the wedding. Fun. I enjoyed the way your boy turned man rose at the end and hugged you over the back of the chair - lovely. Well done.