Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: Helpful Henry's Glass, Soundproof House
By Loren T. Lowery
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Nosey neighbors especially liked Henry’s new house because they never had to wonder what was going on inside. All they had to do was walk by and look.
Some muttered that it would be nice to be able to hear what was going on inside as well, but for the most part, people largely liked it.
At first they greatly admired the old couple, because every time they looked inside their home, they were busy helping one another, be it sweeping, dusting, doing the dishes cooking or even ironing the bed sheets.
Both, it seems, always walked around with a large smile on their face. “Why shouldn’t they,” the nosey neighbors began to mock. “Who wouldn’t be happy if that’s all you did all day.”
But soon, something very strange began to happen; not to Henry or Clarisse, but to those walking and gawking by his house. All of them, from A to Z began to walk with a slight bent towards the glasshouse with one hand cupped around their ear. It was a very strange sight to see indeed.
“I want to hear what’s going on,” they grumbled. “Always busy and helpful to one another like they were planning for something grand. It's not natural. I bet she nags him and it’s all for show, if you ask me.”
Of course, no one did ask them and as time went on, the snoopy neighbors got more and more bent out of shape (bending and cupping one’s hand over one’s ear all the time can do that, you know). And, eventually they found they were having a hard time going into and out of their own homes; doors, it seems, just weren’t made for such awkward stances.
Now with banged elbows and bumped noses from doorsills as well as aches from bent and stretched necks, the neighbors began to get cranky. Irritated in fact. Blaming it all on helpful Henry and his smiling wife, Clarisse.
“Who do they think they are?” they would whisper. “Showing off, trying to make the rest of us look bad; someone should give him the what for.”
Some even began to carry stones in their pockets, because it seemed the right thing to do; yet this seemed to only add to their crooked carriage. But, oddly, the extra weight didn’t seem to bother them, even though their bodies were now nearly bent in half and touching the ground.
On one particular clear day (it was a Sunday, if fact) the nosey neighbors saw something new and curious. Henry was standing at his glass wall and he seemed to be saying something to them. Mouthing would be a better word, as they couldn’t hear him, but none-the-less; he was trying to get their attention. Frantically, he pantomimed their walks and pointed to their bulging, stone-filled pockets.
“He’s daring us to throw the stones at him and his house,” they exclaimed as one. “Well, we’ll just show him, won’t we?” And so all the crooked, bent out of shape, snoopy and irritated neighbors began to throw rocks at helpful Henry’s glasshouse.
Fortunately, Henry’s glasshouse was not only soundproof, but shatter resistant as well. And the stones merely rolled off his walls and into his garden. To their amazement, Henry gave the A-Okay sign, winked, and nodded at them as Clarisse joined beside him to do the same.
When all their pockets were finally empty, Henry came to the door and opened it. “I can’t find the words to thank you enough.” He began. “We’ve wanted to put in a rock garden for the longest time and your actions have helped us immeasurably.”
Clarisse moved beside him. “Please all of you come inside. We’ve been preparing the house for such a grand occasion as this.” She stood aside and motioned them inside. “What wonderful, helpful neighbors you are.”
“Yes,” Henry agreed. “We never imagined seeing such magnificent acts of kindness. Come, enter, it looks as if you’ve been carrying those heavy stones forever.”
And so all their neighbors entered, a mite meeker for sure, but mostly a bit lighter, much less bent out of shape and hugely relieved that their works and not their words were ever heard inside or out helpful Henry’s glass, soundproof house.
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