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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Uncles/Aunts (04/17/08)

TITLE: Peepin' Toes
By Patty Wysong


Ma was poppin' out babies every two years and she was bein' run ragged even though I was doin' my best to help her. But a girl just barely 10 can only do so much, even one as good as me. The day Ma got the letter from Aunt Theodora she just sat there and cried, moppin' her eyes with the hem of her apron. Ma cries when she's happy, but those weren't happy tears.

When she jumped up and waddled to the barn I scooped up the toddlin' tadpole and tagged along. She may waddle from so many babies, but I'm tellin' you, she can move fast when she wants.

Ma waved the letter around her frizzy red hair. “Frank!”

She leaned against the stall door to catch her breath, and Pa skidded to her side, his hands cradling her belly. “Calm down an' tell me what's got ya in a dither.”

Ma mopped her eyes again. “Theodora wrote. Milton's heart finally gave out and he died. Could we invite her out? Do you think she'd come? I've got to go write...”

“Whoa, now.” Pa's hand rasped against his stubbled chin as he sagged beside her. “'Course you need to invite her an' she'll be a help to you, 'specially with that big belly of yourn.”

I let the tadpole slither down my leg and he toddled over to Pa, jabberin' and tugged on his overalls. Pa scooped him up and tossed him in the air just as the hounds started kickin' up a fuss. They were bayin' as if they'd treed a coon, but it was their 'strangers are coming' bark.

I heard singin' over the bayin' and when Ma started laughin' I thought she'd gone crazy. I sure didn't see what was so funny about someone singin' in a screechy voice like that. It made me want to howl with the hounds, but Ma was moppin' her eyes again and waddlin' out the barn door. Since Pa still had the tadpole I beat Ma outside, but she didn't stop there, no-sir-ee, she kept goin' just as fast as she could.

The fanciest lady I ever did see was marchin' beside the wagon ruts, carryin' a carpetbag in each hand. She had coal black hair piled under a hat with ostrich feathers and she looked like she came straight from the pages of Godey's. I watched as she and Ma hugged fiercely, and when the fancy lady pulled a laced hankie from her sleeve there was no doubt who she was. Aunt Theodora.

Pa was mutterin' about whiskers and warnin's, but he scrubbed at dirt on the tadpole's face and started out to meet Aunt Theodora. I dragged my feet, thunderstruck by finally seein' all that Ma had told me about her sister. She had no such reservations though and she hauled me in for a hug that was just as tight as one of Ma's.

“Tessa, I'm so happy to finally meet you.” She stepped back from me, holdin' me at arm's length. “Let me look at you, Darling. Oh, you're every bit as pretty as your mother said.” She pulled me back in for another hug, wrappin' me in her sweet perfume.

Pa had set down the tadpole so he could carry her carpetbags and Aunt Theodora scooped him up, buryin' her face in his soft neck and blowin' raspberries, just like Ma does. The tadpole giggled and grabbed a feather.

I lunged for his fist, but Aunt Theodora just laughed. “It's just a feather, and this hat has too many.”

My mouth must've been hangin' open because she laughed again and reached over and pushed my chin up to close my mouth. Then she leaned close and whispered, “Look at this, Tess.” I looked down and saw her bare toes peepin' out from beneath her fancy skirt hem, wigglin' at me.

I thought I was goin' to bust a gut tryin' to keep from laughin'. “Are you sure you're Aunt Theodora?”

She stood tall and regal. “Oh, yes. I am your Aunt Theodora.” Then she wiggled her toes at me again. “But I'm also your Aunt Teddy.”

Aunt Teddy winked and whispered, “People aren't always what they appear to be.”

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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 04/25/08
Oooh, I like her Aunt Teddy! Cute! The ending with her all dressed up fancy and then being barefoot-oh, no wonder her momma was so excited for her to come. I'd be too-I want to read more of this to see how Aunt Teddy helps out and all. Nice job. ^_^
Sharlyn Guthrie04/25/08
Fun dialogue and decriptions. I would like to get better acquainted with Theodora.
Laury Hubrich 04/26/08
What an awesome story! I absolutely loved this. I see a book in the making here!
Yvonne Blake 04/26/08
What a wonderful character sketch! The last line says a lot. There's got to be more of this story...is there?
Beth LaBuff 04/26/08
I love the "toddlin' tadpole" how cute! (and the "dither" :) ) The image of Aunt Theodora is wonderful with "ostrich feathers" "coal black hair" and "straight from the pages of Godey's." Aunt Theodora's greeting to Tessa was heart-warming… I wanted to hug her back. I love your ending… "peepin' toes" and "Aunt Teddy"…. Your "people aren't always what…" quote would have been great last quarter. :)
Joanne Sher 04/26/08
Just AMAZING job with the dialog and voice especially. I could hear it perfectly as I read. Wonderful.
Jan Ackerson 04/28/08
SUPERB voice! Great story with a fantastic lesson.
Sheri Gordon04/28/08
This is so cute. Love the voice, and the characters. Great job with the topic.
Lollie Hofer04/28/08
Excellent voice in telling the story. The words were colorful but you didn't overdo it either. Sometimes stories are difficult to read because the "accent" is overdone. These words flowed smoothly. I liked how you made your point at the end without preaching it. Well done.
Joshua Janoski04/28/08
I loved the accent and the reference to the "tadpole" throughout. I also loved the description of the waddling mother. This was a real cute story. I had fun reading it.
Catrina Bradley 04/28/08
Masterful! I love your MC, your word choices, your phrases, just everything. Oh, and Aunt Teddy, too. :)
Chely Roach04/28/08
This was SO GOOD! The tone and country drawl of the narrator was perfect...I loved this!
Lynda Schultz 04/29/08
What's that saying? "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." Great description, great characters, great voice, great lesson.
Willena Flewelling 04/29/08
I can see a book here too. Your title is perfect for a delightful character. Tessa will learn a LOT from her Aunt Teddy. Well done!
Debbie Wistrom04/29/08
Colorful, marterful and just plain full of fun. Loved this romp!
Dee Yoder 04/30/08
What an Aunt! She'd be a hoot to have in the house and as a helper. Great job with the dialect and the characters!
jodie banner04/30/08
I want to know so much more about Aunt Teddy, I can't wait to read the next chapter.
Joy Faire Stewart04/30/08
Love the MC's voice and the dialogue is perfect. Excellent writing!
Loren T. Lowery04/30/08
I liked Aunt Teddy in an instant. You painted a very vivid portrait of rural love and family values, showing indeed, the apple never falls far from the tree. I really liked your title, too!
Pamela Kliewer04/30/08
You certainly pulled me in with this story. I loved it all. :)
Angela M. Baker-Bridge04/30/08
Not that I know country accents, but you made a believer out of me! Good job.
Mandy White05/01/08
This was such a fun read! I love your descriptions and Aunt Teddy was great!