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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: First Kiss
By Shelley Ledfors


My life ended the summer I turned twelve. Not literally, of course. But the changes I experienced then certainly amounted to an ending of the life I had known up to that point. It’s an old, sad tale. One many of us have experienced. That was the year my best friend moved away…


“Are you going to just sit there and mope all day, boy?”

“What else is there to do? This summer just goes from bad to worse. First Steve’s family had to leave, and then I found out that the new people moving into their place only have one kid…a girl! I can‘t think of anything worse.“

I kicked at a loose stone near the tire swing where I had “parked my carcass” as Dad liked to say.

“Ow!“ A sharp pain indicated my error as to the rock‘s mobility.

Dad chuckled as he ran his fingers across the red stubble on his chin. "Don’t you think you should reserve judgment until you actually meet her, Brad? Mom’s made a pie, and we thought we should all go over and introduce ourselves. That is, if you’re not too busy with your landscaping.”

“Okay…I guess.”

Through my dusty sneaker I rubbed my protesting toes, but the ache of missing my friend could not be so easily assuaged.

“I know it’ll be tough with Steve gone, but remember that some of God’s most wonderful blessings can start out disguised as our biggest disappointments.”

“Oh, great. Now I suppose you’re going to tell me that this new girl will end up to be the love of my life…and we’ll share our first kiss in the barn…and ten years from now we’ll get married and live happily ever after. Yuck.”

“Stranger things have happened.” Dad winked at Mom. The oft told story of their romance closely resembled the scenario I had just described.

“Well I don’t care about all that stuff. I just want to go fishing and build forts and that kind of thing like I did with Steve. Girls don‘t care about any of that.”

I was right, for the most part. Jenny didn’t like to fish or build. And I certainly had no interest in sewing and such. But we did spend a lot of time together. Being the only kids living near each other in our rural area, often our only choice for same-age companionship was each other.

We found a good middle ground for our time together. We went on hikes and picnics, picked berries and gathered materials for my building projects or Jenny’s crafts. Many evenings we played board games or watched movies with either her parents or mine. Jenny’s dog accompanied us nearly everywhere that summer. A stout, funny-looking canine with a most unusual football shaped head, Millie kept us in stitches with her antics.

It certainly wasn’t the summer Steve and I had planned before his Dad’s job transfer, but as time went on, I must admit that I started to look at Jenny in a little different way. Maybe spending time with a girl wasn’t so bad after all.

I turned twelve near the end of the summer.

“Brad--I wanted to give you something extra special for your birthday.“

“You didn’t have to buy me anything, Jenny.”

“Well, it isn’t exactly bought. Um…it’s in here.” Jenny headed for her barn.

I tried to think of something to say, but couldn’t. Not that it would have mattered, anyway. My mouth was suddenly devoid of all moisture. So, I just followed her.

Is this what I think it is? What Dad teased me about? History repeating itself? I’m not sure I’m ready for this!

Jenny led the way to the far back corner of the barn. I will never forget that first kiss. The softness of her hair. The scent of her breath. Her eyes were closed. Her ears, too. After all, puppies’ eyes and ears stay sealed for the first couple of weeks. Millie thumped her tail enthusiastically as if in approval of the gift.


It turns out Dad was right. What started out as my worst summer ever, ended as one of my best. Once she was old enough to leave her mom, Penny and I became inseparable. She was my best friend, supreme entertainer and confidant extraordinaire well into my adult years.

Oh, and Jenny? She and Bob still live on the neighboring farm. Amber and I visit them frequently. Our kids often play together. So do our Bull Terriers.

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This article has been read 811 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Johnna Stein03/06/08
I love this story. Really well told and just love the first kiss!
Celeste Ammirata03/06/08
This is a wonderful story. I loved the prologue! And what a sweet first kiss. Every young boy should be so lucky! Very well written, and right on topic.
Holly Westefeld03/07/08
This was a fun read. Loved the twist/mis-direction.
Shirley McClay 03/07/08
LOL! You got me good.. I had to read that third to last paragraph a couple of times to catch the twist! LOL

I love this line "remember that some of God’s most wonderful blessings can start out disguised as our biggest disappointments".. hugely encouraged me.. thank you! I am writing that line in my journal!
LauraLee Shaw03/07/08
Aha!!! VEry very good!!! :)
Marita Thelander 03/10/08
Cute. I didn't catch the puppy kiss at first either. Fun to see a boy/girl relationship in such a wholesome adventurous way. Brings back memories of my own.
Seema Bagai 03/11/08
Had to read this twice to figure out the kiss. Cute story.
Henry Clemmons03/11/08
I got it. Enjoyed your creative touch on this. Thanks for sharing.
Sharlyn Guthrie03/11/08
Great story with a fun twist at the end. You really had me going with the kiss. Clever!
Mandy White03/12/08
Never saw it coming! I love those "gotcha" moments, when I'm reading. Sweet, sweet story.
Sara Harricharan 03/12/08
heehee, you sure 'got me' here, I was waiting and waiting for the punchline and it sneaked up on me. lol. A lovely, light-hearted piece with a great ending, I loved the line with how he described Millie. Cute. ^_^
Debbie Wistrom03/12/08
Great twist and who doesn't secretly love puppy breath. Perfect light hearted entry for topic. Thanks for the smiles.
Jan Ackerson 03/12/08
Oh, thank you so much for that twist! I was just about to think, yeah, yeah, I get it, cute story but kind of predictable when you thumped me right between the eyes! Awesome!
Betty Castleberry03/12/08
I'm a sucker for a puppy story. This is just too cute. Thumbs up!
Joanne Sher 03/12/08
Oh, you got me! Delightfully fun and sweet and just a kick! Betcha you had a blast writing this one. I certainly did reading it!
Patty Wysong03/12/08
Oh! I LOVE this!! What a perfect twist at the end! Superb! ...Love it! :)
Sherry Castelluccio 03/12/08
That was adorable! I had to go back and read it again because I thought I missed something! Well done, that was too cute.
Sharon Henderson03/16/08
I loved it. Loved it!!! You got me hook, line and sinker.

This could easily have been named "Puppy Love". Great job!