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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: My Favorite
By Shirley McClay


My mommy is different.

She taught me to read when I was only four. We sit in her bed together and each read our own books (Mommy makes me sound out words when I donít know them) and we eat melted M&Mís. Itís my favorite thing to do.

She puts on Sesame Street records and plays Tiger Hunt with us. Mommy knows every single song. Sometimes she moves the furniture around in the living room and builds tents. We play in them all day and listen to the records. My favorite is Oscar the Grouch.

When it rains God makes the biggest, deepest mud puddle everÖ right in our front yard! My brother and I spend all day making pies and cakes. Itís lots of fun. My mommy doesnít get upset; she just gets out the garden hose. We stand out on the lawn while she hoses us down with icy well-water. Then we have to strip and she scoops us up and dumps us in the bathtub for a long pruny soak.

Mommy doesnít ever go to the stores to buy stuff for us, instead she goes to garage sales all summer. We get piles of presents for birthdays and Christmas. Our clothes arenít new either, but sometimes Mommy makes dresses for me. The dresses she makes are my favorites.

We donít have many toys, so we play in the haymow or with the kittens. I help with the garden and pick berries and feed the animals, too. I even get to feed and water my own pony. Mommy lets me take a book out and read it while I lay on my pony. Thatís my favorite thing to do! Sometimes I fall asleep on her. My pony, I mean.

Mommy only spends ten dollars a month on groceries. We have a big garden and the cellar is full of canned jars of vegetables, berries, fruit, and even meat. The freezers in the woodshed are stuffed too. Daddy hunts real good and sometimes he works at the neighborís dairy farm. They give us free fresh milk every day. A whole gallon with cream still in it! We have cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys for meat and eggs.

Our drafty old farmhouse is so cold when we get up in the morning. Mommy builds a tent over one heat register and hangs our clothes over another one. She brings our breakfast to us and we eat under the tent too.

When the winter gets terribly cold Mommy pulls the clothes dryer out from the wall and puts a blanket over the back. We all sit under the tent and readÖ and Mommy melts M&Mís on the dryer vent. (We really like M&Mís ... oh, and tents too!)

In the winter we go out to the Sugarbush. Mommy, Grandma, Daddy, and Grandpa collect the sap from maple trees and boil it down to make maple syrup. Mommy makes snow candy for us with the syrup. YUM! My favorite thing to do is to ride on the sled behind Grandpaís workhorses! I close my eyes and listen to their hooves (big as my head!) crunching in the snow. Their whickers and snorts make my ponyís whinnies sound silly. And they eat all the time. Mommy says I eat like a horse, but I think she means a pony.

Mommy takes me to the doctorís office every month to get allergy shots because I am allergic to bees. Then she takes me out for ice cream to help the hurt go away. We still get to go to Grandpaís Honey House in the summer though. Itís hot and sticky with lots of bees flying everywhere and smells sweet and smoky. My favorite thing is to eat the honey still in the comb.

The Honey House used to be Grandpaís schoolhouse when he was littler than me. It still has an old hand pump in the front and an outhouse in the back. Thatís where we go to the bathroom. (It stinks and has spiders.) We wash at the pump, but we canít drink the water. Mommy says it isnít good water, but when she wasnít looking I sneaked a taste and it seemed fine to me.

Sometimes my mommy cries because I hurt all over from the Arthritis. I donít like making her so sad. So I smile even when it hurts real bad and I try to make her smile too. She always smiles for me.

My mommy is my favoritest favorite.

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This article has been read 817 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joshua Janoski05/01/08
"Mommy says I eat like a horse, but I think she means a pony."

Loved that line. It made me laugh. :)

The child's voice in this story is perfect. It's exactly how I would expect a little kid to talk. I could picture the child standing in front of me, wide eyed, telling me everything.

Great job with this one. I can tell that you have a lot of experience with children that I'm sure helped you when crafting this piece.
Joy Faire Stewart05/01/08
I enjoyed the child's voice and all that was happening in the story.
LauraLee Shaw05/02/08
This is so precious! I wish my kids could say the same thing about me, but they most certainly cannot. ;)

This was my favorite line: We all sit under the tent and readÖ and Mommy melts M&Mís on the dryer vent. (We really like M&Mís ... oh, and tents too!) Too precious!

I would've enjoyed a more creative title, maybe even the just the improved phrasing of your last line: My FAvoritest Favorite. I dunno...just a thought. ;)
Chely Roach05/05/08
You definately nailed the voice of a child, and I LOVED the visual of her playing in a giant mud puddle, then getting hosed down! LOL
Good stuff.
Marita Thelander 05/05/08
This was the perfect way to tell us abot your mom without being stiff or predictable. Great job.
Holly Westefeld05/06/08
Shirley, what a precious memoir! You made me feel like I was right there on the farm with you.
The only thing that troubled me was the single use of past tense.
"She taught me to read when I was only four."
I'm only four and she's teaching me to read.
Thank you for sharing these treasured memories.
Jan Ackerson 05/06/08
Superb job on the voice of this piece. You were spot on.
Debbie Wistrom05/06/08
I loved all her favorites.

Creative and engaging. Fresh and so much alive.

Great job!
Joanne Sher 05/06/08
Excellent job with the voice - and an absolutely delightful piece with wonderfully poignant bits. Just lovely.
Willena Flewelling 05/06/08
What a wonderful blessing to have a mother like that. And what a role model!! And with the young child's voice you paint a refreshingly simple picture.
Beckie Stewart05/06/08
This was cute. I love it. I think I saw one spelling error on "whiskers", but this was simply delightful to read in the voice and it sounds like you had a wonderful time growing up and you described it all so well. I felt was there.
Sara Harricharan 05/07/08
Awww! What a lovely story! I loved the last line with the "My mommy is the favoritest.." lol. That was cute and just what a kid would say. This made me think back to the little house on the prarie books, the descriptions and especially the POV made this very fun! Nice job! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery05/07/08
I entered the heart and mind of a child reading this precious piece. It is at once both beautiful and poignant, brining back some great memories of my own.
Laury Hubrich 05/08/08
I love this glimpse into the little girl Shirley and her mommy who she loves so very much (and misses.) Great writing as always, my friend!
Carol Pierce05/08/08
Shirley knowing you and your Mother as I do, this article took me back many years. As I read it I visualized those places, the heater in the kitchen, the dryer, the tents, and the mud puddle.Thanks for my memories that you brought back to me.You have a wonderful way with words, keep it up.