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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

By Jan Ackerson


When Alvin died four years ago, I discovered that I didn’t like living in the house he had built, where every plank of wood whispered his name. I moved to this cottage on the forest’s edge after reading a brochure in the realtor’s office. I’ll admit I was skeptical: talking animals? Fairy godmothers? Really? But I shrugged my shoulders and packed a few belongings; the cottage was utterly charming.

My daughter Stacey was frantic. Frankly, I’ve no idea how I raised such a worry-wart. “Mother!” she said. “This place sounds awful. Trolls? Goblins? What are you thinking? When I insisted, she persuaded her husband that they needed to move here—she thinks I’m getting senile. So now they live a few cottages down the lane, with my red-haired granddaughter, Harley.

I wish they’d move back to Springville. Stacey and Tom are hovering busybodies, and Harley? As empty-headed as a bag of air.

But my other neighbors are fascinating—three pig brothers about a mile away (real pigs, not slobbish men), and seven charming little miners in another cabin nearby.

Enough back story—on to the events of yesterday. Getting out of bed, I slipped on the rug and twisted my ankle. No big deal, but I didn’t feel up to my daily walk to the market. I called Stacey on my cell. “Could you send Harley over with a few things? Some bread maybe, and a bit of fruit?”

After some anxious fretting (“Mother, I told you that throw rugs are dangerous…”), Stacey told me to expect my granddaughter with a basket of food in an hour or so. I sat down with a Sudoku.

Just as I was filling the bottom left corner with a 9 and a 4, I heard a knock. Harley, so soon? I hobbled to the door.

You know, I’ve lived here for a while now, and I’m still not used to those talking animals. It was a wolf, absurdly standing on his hind legs, wearing a green vest—no pants. “Morning, ma’am,” he growled. “Do you have a moment?”

Who knew wolves were so polite? “C’mon in,” I said. “What’s up?”

He perched on the sofa. “Ma’am, I’ve just met your granddaughter down the lane, and I fear for her safety. She’s talking to strangers, giving out personal information, showing them what’s in her basket... Pardon my asking, ma’am, but is she…” His voice trailed off.

“Thick as a brick? Yep. Takes after her father…” Together, we hatched a plan that would teach Harley some healthy caution, then played Boggle and enjoyed a few Pringles while we waited for her.

A full hour later, I heard Harley at the door, calling out to me. “Nana, I’m here…I got lost! I got your food…Nana, are you home?”

I hate being called “Nana”.

I called back to her. “Harley, I’m in bed. Turn the knob to the left.” A rattling sound. “No, dear, the other left.”

Finally, she tumbled into the cottage, and I could hear the contents of her basket scatter across the floor. “Nana, where are you?”

“I’m in the bedroom, Harley. C’mon back.” The wolf gave me a thumbs-up. Well, a paws-up.

From my hiding place in the closet, I could see a mop of red hair at the doorway. Harley took a tentative step into the room. The wolf was sitting on the bed in my pink sweats, his back to Harley.


The wolf swiveled around and bared his fangs at her. “Remember me?”

Harley jumped back, then considered for a moment. “Hey, aren’t you…no, wait.” She tilted her head, thinking hard. “Who are you, again?”

“Well,” said the wolf, “if we still did the Big Bad Wolf number in these parts, I’d be the guy who just ate your grandmother.”

Harley gasped. “Did you? Ewww, gross!”

“No dear, I didn’t—but I could have.” He nodded in my direction. “Come on out now, ma’am.”

I stepped into the room and tousled Harley’s hair. “Thanks for the food, kid. Go straight home, now, and tell your mom what happened. And good grief, punkin, zip it, willya?”

So Harley scooted home with a pout, the wolf and I had another snack, and he mentioned a friend of his he’d like me to meet—a woodcutter, like Alvin! Why not? I may be a grandmother, but I’m not dead yet—I’m only forty-eight. So it’s sushi and karaoke with the Spratts tomorrow night, and I’m hoping the woodcutter’s a hunk—just my type.

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This article has been read 1368 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/10/08
This a absolutely wonderful—a modern day Red Riding Hood and a cool granny (I like the wolf, too—a personage of character!). Excellent.
Sheri Gordon04/10/08
This is too funny. (I was glad I hadn't taken a drink of water--my computer would be wet.)

Who knew wolves liked to play Sudoku and Boggle--two of my very favorite games?

Excellent take on the topic. So much fun to read.
Marita Vandertogt04/11/08
Loved it
Joanne Sher 04/12/08
Betcha I know whose this is (and if I'm wrong, who this person is trying to imitate LOL). Delightfully fun and imaginative. Love these kinds of stories.
Gerald Shuler 04/12/08
My favorite so far this week. It explains SO much about that fairy tale that, as a child, I was always curious about... like talking animals? Now it makes sense. You have completed my childhood. I am now mature.
Laury Hubrich 04/12/08
Oh, too too funny! I wondered how in the world anyone could do a creative take on this subject and you did! Woohoo!
Dee Yoder 04/12/08
Jan, Jan, Jan...oh my! I was laughing out loud. What an absolutely delightful HOOT! Wish you lived next door to me; you've GOT to be the MOST fun person to have a coffee break with...great story! You made my day with this one. (See me smilin'?)
Chely Roach04/12/08
You never cease to amaze me...what a riot! I loved the completely creative, funny take on a topic that most (including me) went all sentimental on. Loved it!
Betty Castleberry04/12/08
Priceless! This is just TOO much fun. I have one teeny thing to mention, although I'm sure it's just a "me" thing. The name Alvin made me think of chipmunks, which led me off in a whole other direction. Now that I've got my nit picking out of the way, I want you to know how much I LOVED this. Excellent work.
jodie banner04/12/08
Absolutely hilarious. I don't know how you do it week after week.
Glynis Becker04/12/08
I can always count on your imagination to make me smile. This is so clever and just plain fun. As always.
Kristen Hester04/12/08
You are the master of retelling fairy tales. This is GREAT!
Peter Stone04/13/08
This really is a most amusing twist on an old story. Who would have thought that the wolf was all part of an elaborate hoax.
Lyn Churchyard04/13/08
Exactly what we have come to expect from the master story teller. Well done is hardly adequate. Brilliant is closer.
Loved every bit of this Jan!
Karen Wilber04/13/08
Hysterical. I was sad when this ended because it was so much fun. I love Grandma's sassy attitude--hates being called "nana". For some reason "Boggle" and "Pringles" in the same sentence made me laugh out loud. Crazy fun.
LauraLee Shaw04/13/08
Now this is the kind of spunk I want to have when I am a gramma. Laugh out loud funny and brilliant.
Sharlyn Guthrie04/13/08
I giggled at every delightful detail, and there are probably a few I missed...better read it again. Wow!
Beth LaBuff 04/14/08
I was a bit leery when your MC allowed the wolf entrance to her cottage. :) -- and then it dawned on me where you were going with this. I enjoyed your playful touch with the Boggle and the Pringles. Super fun! I love it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/14/08
This is absolutely delightful, start to finish, one of my favorites ever here, as well as my favorite of your fairy tale adventures. Your imagination and ability to presnt it are unparalleled.
Benjamin Graber04/14/08
I love your creativity, Jan! This was very fun...
Sara Harricharan 04/14/08
ROFL! So hilarious-this was just the thing I needed to laugh this morning! I loved the touch with "I hate being called Nana" that made it more real for me, I especially like how you made red-riding hood-oops, er, the granddauther, so incredibly dense. I feel as if I know her...wonder why. ^_^ Great writing! ^_^
Mariane Holbrook 04/15/08
Typical of the superb writing you always present to the challenge, this was a great read. Where does one go beyond Master's??? Kudos. Big time.
Loren T. Lowery04/15/08
What a hoot! I want to live in that kind of world, come to think of it, I already do. Welcome to the neighborhood! : )
Carole Robishaw 04/15/08
I loved it, I will have to go back and look up the others you've done.
Joy Faire Stewart04/15/08
This was a fun read and a very unique take on this week's subject. Loved it!
Seema Bagai 04/15/08
Jan, you have to write a book of "fractured fairy tales". This is priceless. Loved it.
Debbie Wistrom04/15/08
I agree with Seema about a book, it would make great gifts for special people, like you. Please consider this as a very possible possibility.
Joshua Janoski04/16/08
I agree with Seema. I would definitely buy a copy of your "Fractured Fairy Tales" anthology. I hope that you would autograph it for me. :)

I love how the grandma thinks her granddaughter is an airhead, and how she sat and played Boggle and ate Pringles with the wolf. This reminded me a bit of a movie I watched called "Hoodwinked." I love modern day spoof stories like this.

Sara Harricharan 04/17/08
Sheri Gordon04/17/08
Congratulations on your EC, Jan. I love the way you recreate quirky fairytale characters.
Loren T. Lowery04/17/08
Ha! And you thought your "fractured tales" were getting stale! Way to go, Jan. Your placing is so nice to see - Loren
Helen Paynter04/17/08
Loved it! I was laughing out loud. Come and visit - tell me some fireside tales!
Shirley McClay 04/18/08
You totally inspire me Jan.. every entry is perfect and so incredibly creative. I have learned so much from you.
Julie Paulsen04/18/08
Hee hee, very creative!