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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: Sunday Morning Nursery
By Judy Bowers
05/14/08


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From inside the nursery, John could hear the next child coming down the church hallway. Its wails were loud enough to scare the devil himself. Chuckling softly, John went to the door to receive the little tyke.

“Good morning,” said John to the parents holding a screaming baby.

“Good morning,” they replied in unison.

“I’m sorry about all the crying,” said the mother. “Andrew is a rather colicky baby.”

“Are you new in town?” asked John. “I’ve lived here all my adult life and I don’t remember ever seeing you.”

“Yes, we recently moved here and we’re trying to find a church home. It’s not easy with a crying baby. His doctor says he’ll grow out of it, but it’s hard leaving him when he’s so uncomfortable,” the father replied.

“You just hand Andrew to me. My son and daughter-in-law had a colicky baby and I never did have any problem quieting him. I’ve been tending this nursery for almost twenty years and I’ve yet to meet the baby I can’t rock to sleep. I know all the children in this church and their parents, too. Some of my first babies are now starting to have babies of their own! Hope you enjoy the worship service and don’t worry about Andrew--he’ll be fine in this nursery.”

As John walked the baby around the room, allowing him time to look things over, the bawling subsided into hiccupping sobs and then on down to whimpers. John then sat in one of the cushioned rockers and began to rock Andrew to sleep.

“John, it still amazes me how you can get the crying babies to go to sleep,” said Jewel, the other nursery helper.

“All week I look forward to Sunday mornings, Jewel. My grandchildren live so far away that I don’t get to spend enough time with them. These are my church-grandbabies and they keep me young.” John said as he rubbed one hand across his balding head.

“You know, John, I still miss Russell, God rest his soul, and those wonderful dinner parties we used to have at your house. You and Russell would go quail hunting and then Nell would bake those little birds in some kind of a mushroom sauce. And your garden vegetables were the finest. Those surely were fun times!” Jewel declared as she tucked the blanket around a sleeping baby.

“I don’t do any hunting any more, Jewel, my shotgun’s catching dust in the closet now. My bird dogs have all died off and I’ve not replaced them. Maybe one of my grandsons will take up hunting, although with all the new housing developments there aren’t many good places to hunt these days.”

“Are your grandsons as athletic as you were in your younger days? I remember you back in college playing basketball, baseball, and football. Only heaven knows how many other sports you’ve been involved in over the years, John.”

“My grandsons like to ski and play hockey in those northern winters,” said John. “We all play golf in the summer time, but mostly I bowl with other seniors now. And tending my vegetable garden keeps me busy.”

“Yes, gardening is good exercise,” said Jewel. “I still have the daylily and other flower gardens Russell helped me plant. Weeding keeps me busy … when I’m not playing the organ for weddings or funerals.”

“I think I hear some people talking in the hallway. Worship service must be over,” John said. “Oh, there are Andrew’s parents at the door.”

“Where is Andrew?” His mother asked as she anxiously surveyed the nursery.

“He’s in that crib,” John replied as he pointed to the crib where Andrew slept.

“Andrew asleep?” questioned the father. “Well, this is the fourth church we’ve visited since moving here and it’s the first time we have not been met at the door with our crying baby. We will definitely be coming to church here again!”

John chuckled as he said, “Could it be that Andrew is telling you in which church he wants to grow up!”

“We’ll see you next Sunday, John,” the father said as he and his family headed down the hallway to the coffee hour.

“Well, Jewel, I’ll see you next Sunday,” John said as he headed out the nursery door and toward the offices to help tally the morning offering and get started on the church books.

“See you next Sunday,” Jewel said as she quietly closed the nursery door.


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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 05/15/08
What a neat way of covering the topic. I liked John, especially that he could rock poor Andrew to sleep. This was great, but my fave character was Jewel...very well done! ^_^
Holly Westefeld05/16/08
Although the topic connection was quite slim, I enjoyed this story, especially the hint of an emerging senior romance.
Betsy Markman05/24/08
A lovely story, well-written.