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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: A Lime Green Lesson
By Patty Wysong


“Pappy? Grampa is older than you, right?” Jason asked as he sanded his pine car for the church derby.

“Yup.” Pappy settled onto a stool beside his workbench.

“Then why is he really old and you're just old?”

A chuckle rumbled from Pappy. “Well, I suppose it's 'cuz I've kept active all these years and he hasn't.”

Jason's inquisitive eyes studied Pappy. “Why?”

“I knew what I wanted to do in life and I went after it, but yer grampa just kinda went through life, doing what he had to do.”

“But how does that make him so much older?”

Pappy thoughtfully looked around his workshop. “Well, I remember back when we were young men--one of the things I wanted to do was to sky dive. I was working in the factory then, so I was making just barely enough to take care of our needs. Your grandmother an' I had been married for only a year, and she was pregnant with your daddy. Life wasn't easy, but I knew what I really wanted to do, so we sat down and made a plan. We didn't get hung up on all the reasons why we couldn't do what we wanted to; instead, we concentrated on finding ways to follow our dreams. We pinched pennies, I worked extra hours and odd jobs, we did anything and everything we could to save money. It wasn't easy, but we knew exactly what we wanted and we pursued it. The result was that I learned how to sky dive, and over time I was able to even become an instructor.”

“So sky diving kept you younger than Grampa?” Jason smoothed his fingers over the car looking for rough spots.

“Well, that was one of the things, but I think it was more than just that. I think it was how I thought about things. I never thought 'I can't' I always thought 'How can I?'.”

“And Grampa thought 'I can't'?” Jason asked.

“Yup, sad to say, he did. I love yer grampa, he's been a good friend for 50 years, but he shot himself in the foot by focusing on all the reasons why he couldn't do things instead of finding ways to make it so he could follow his dreams. Before too long, he completely quit dreaming. When he quit dreaming he began to grow old. Hand me that thing an' lemme check it.” His gnarled hand reached out and plucked the pine car from Jason.

Luke, having just arrived, smiled as he leaned against the door jamb, watching his father and his son work together. “And when Grampa quit dreaming Pappy dreamed even more; then he found ways to reach those dreams,” Luke said.

Jason hopped off his stool and greeted Luke with an exuberant hug. “Dad, come see my car. I'm getting ready to paint it.”

“Hey, that's great! What color did you pick?” Luke asked.

Jason grinned. “Lime green with a lemony yellow racing stripe.”

“Jason, grab that chamois cloth and wipe this puppy down good, I do believe it's ready for paint,” Pappy said, handing the car back to his grandson.

“You wanna know the biggest difference between Pappy and Grampa?” Luke asked. “Pappy pursued and did the things he wanted to. He didn't put them off. Grampa always said he'd do things after he retired, but then he messed up his knee and couldn't. Because he put off doing those things, he's completely lost out on the opportunity to do them.”

“Yer right, Luke,” said Pappy as he opened the bottle of lime green paint.

“And that's when Grampa went from being old to really old?” Jason asked, looking from Pappy to his dad.

Pappy pulled a paintbrush from a nearby jar and ruffled the bristles, making sure it was clean. “Yup. That's right.” He handed the brush to Jason. “Now remember, paint the car, not my workbench.”

Jason rolled his eyes. “Pappy!” He dipped the brush into the lime green, his eyes dancing. “This is such a cool color. You wanna know what I'm gonna do after I finish this?” He was concentrating on painting and missed the look his dad and grandfather shared. “I'm gonna make a go-cart.”

Pappy's shoulders shook with silent laughter.

“How're ya gonna do that?” Luke asked.

“I dunno, but I'll figure it out and do it. Just like Pappy. And I'm gonna paint it lime green, too. I love this color.”

~~Red Pen comments and critiques are very welcome and appreciated.

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This article has been read 884 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Murray03/15/08
How beautifully the dialogue invites the reader into the scenario.You can see the little fellow's heart grow to bursting with a healthy family pride throughout this tale.
Joanne Sher 03/15/08
I love the interaction between Pappa and the boy.

I don't know why, but something about how they were talking about grandpa seemed somehow disrespectful to him - it could just be me, though. Maybe it's just optimistic me, wanting to be sure nobody's feelings are hurt. But, since you asked for critique, I'm sharing my feelings.

Perfect title, and a lovely story overall.
Sally Hanan03/15/08
Good dialogue and descriptions here, and sometimes it is good to use a familiar figure to give a life lesson.
jodie banner03/16/08
Great lesson, but knowing how kids talk someone is going to get an earful after Jasons next visit with Grampa!
Laury Hubrich 03/16/08
I loved this story. Watching/listening to "boys" work and talk at the same time is so much fun.
Shelley Ledfors 03/16/08
I loved the dialogue and the interaction of the characters in this piece. It comes across as very realistic to me. The only (slight) thing I think I would have changed is in the opening, I think I would have had Jason ask whether Grampa and Pappy were about the same age. I think that might have flowed a bit better into the "old and really old" comment than asking whether Grampa was older. I really liked this piece! It's a great illustration of the topic and reminder for all of us!
Jan Ackerson 03/16/08
Very realistic dialogue, and perfect for the topic. I could visualize every moment of this scene.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/16/08
I love the dialogue and how Pappy's "making hay" was a good example for Jason to follow. Excellent story.
Lyn Churchyard03/16/08
This was a great story. Very believable dialogue (I could hear it). I really loved the interaction between the little boy and his Pappy. A perfect example of the topic. Well done!
william price03/16/08
Very good story. So were pappy and grampa like inlaws? Just wondering. I really enjoyed the read. God bless.
Lynda Lee Schab 03/17/08
Sweet story! I also wondered about the Pappy and Grandpa relation. At first I thought one was a great-grandpa and one a grandpa. But then he said he'd been a good "friend" so I'm thinking maybe Pappy was a friend of the family. I might have clarified that a bit. But other than that tiny detail, I enjoyed the story very much! Well done!
Leigh MacKelvey03/17/08
Very good dialoque and realistic. I would suggest that you may possibly want to be a little more subtle with tying in the topic. It felt a little as if you were explaining the topic too much.
I loved all the charcters ... you built them up well!
Betty Castleberry03/17/08
Realistic dialogue, good story. I like the message. Great work!
Yvonne Blake 03/17/08
I love the dialogue!
I also wondered how Granpa and Pappy were connected at first.
It's a good example of living life to its fullest.
Debbie Wistrom03/17/08
I too wondered if both men were his grandparents. Liked how they worked together, liked the dad coming into the picture as he did. Up-lifting story, thanks for sharing.
Joshua Janoski03/17/08
I really like the lessons taught in this piece. Determination instead of procrastination is the way to go.

I got a bit confused as to who Pappy was in relation to the grandpa. I kept thinking that he was the boy's other grandfather, and somehow the two grandfathers ended up being friends. I'm probably wrong though.

I appreciate you sharing this.
Patrick Whalen03/18/08
I'd leave a comment but I'm heading off to go build that go-kart I gave up on so long ago...okay, not really, but you made me WANT to :)
Chely Roach03/19/08
“Now remember, paint the car, not my workbench.”
That is just one example of how you nailed the realistic dialogue...I am out of red ink.
Sara Harricharan 03/19/08
Awww! This was so sweet! I liked the character of Jason and especially the lesson you wove through here without making it in-your-face obvious. That was really good! I don't have too much RED INK for this, except for to make it a little clearer between Grampa and Pappy. Otherwise, good job! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery03/19/08
What a great way to deliver a powerful message. I really liked that the "students" were young enough to see the example and start their dreams early on.