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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)

TITLE: Second Cousin Once Removed
By Yvonne Blake


Twas a fantastical perfect picnic day.
Three miles south of the state highway.
Blue balloons bobbed and fluttered
Signs painted, along the way cluttered
Directing all our cousins and kin

Usually the farm was a quiet spot, but…
The lower field wore a new buzz cut,
Baselines, horseshoes, and the volleyball net
Uncles, aunts, boys, girls and yapping pets
Tents and campers one by one appear.
Tables sway ‘neath towers of Tupperware.

Each arrival brought cheers of recognitions,
New in-laws fidgeted with introductions.
Coolers, hampers, and lemonade jugs,
Shouting, laughing, kisses and hugs,
Teams were picked for the big softball game.
Every year it was always the same.

All heads turned, with a sudden hush
Up the dirt road sputtered a VW bus.
It shuddered a minute, then gave out a BANG!
Five boys, three girls, plus twins in their gang
Were all packed in that rusty old sardine can.
They poured from its doors spread out like a fan.

Suspicious glances and puckered stares
Inspected these strangers with straight black hair.
The mother cuddled a babe, two toddlers near.
“Hello,” smiled the father, “we’re finally here.
I have always wanted to see the old farm.”
He hefted a basket. “Can we share some corn?”

“My name is Pedro Bartholomew.”
“Welcome, its good to meet someone new.”
Uncle Roy offered a strong calloused hand.
Pedro removed his hat, with formal stand.
“I’m the nephew of great grandfather, its true.
I’m your second cousin once removed.”

What did it matter what we couldn’t prove?
Our second cousins once removed
Ate our hotdogs at our tables in our chairs.
Joined the softball game with two more players
The little girls played ‘Ring Around the Rosy”
But avoided Aunt Bertha, who was typically nosy.

Those scrawny children had an appetite.
You couldn’t find a leftover bite.
They scarfed down burgers and piled plates.
Even the lemon tarts that tasted great.
Doughnuts, pie, and cookies just vanished
We wondered why they whispered in Spanish.

“We have far to go; we cannot stay.
We thank you for a wonderful day.
Adios, amigos! This day was good.”
The motor roared; smoke rose from the hood.
In a cloud of dust, the bus disappeared
Aunt Bertha shook her head, “Just as I feared.”

She lugged in her arms a stack of books,
We hushed and gave her curious looks.
Looking for something, page after page,
She had our attention, in center stage.
She gasped, “Yes, I knew I was right!”
Standing on the table to give herself height.

“I’ve thought and thought and found it here.”
In puzzled silence we stared back at her.
“Great Grandpa O’Reilly from Ireland
Had no brothers or sisters, do you understand?
He had no nephew, no niece, I have proved;
These weren't our second cousins once removed.”

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This article has been read 1238 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sunny Loomis 05/29/08
Delightful! You painted a vivid picture here and I can see it so clearly.
Shirley McClay 05/29/08
Such vivid descriptions put me right there at the reunion.. maybe they weren't really relatives but I sure felt like one!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/29/08
I chuckled when it was revealed the cousins weren't cousins after all. Thank you for a visit through poetry to the family reunion.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/29/08
Very cute! :-) I found some of the rhyming a little stilted, but it was still enjoyable. Good job!
Beth LaBuff 05/29/08
This was so much fun to read. Love your words like "fantastical" and "Pedro Bartholomew". You hinted about this family throughout, then it was fun to find that after they'd cleaned up all the food they weren't even "cousins." Great work!
LauraLee Shaw05/30/08
Love the dynamics of this entertaining piece. Your rhyming words were very clever and the flow was smooth for me. Well done!
Joanne Sher 05/31/08
Cute and fun - enjoyed the read.
Marilee Alvey06/01/08

This was a fun take on a family reunion! Since our family doesn't seem big enough to have one, perhaps you've given me an idea! Fun, creative poetry!
Debbie Wistrom06/01/08
The line about the tables swaying 'neath Tupperware is a riot.
Cute story too.

The black straight hair was the clue...plus all the signs.

Sharlyn Guthrie06/01/08
Very cute. I enjoyed your detailed descriptions throughout. I struggled a bit with the meter in places, but that definitely didn't take away from the fun.
Jan Ackerson 06/02/08
Very clever story! I'd almost prefer to read this in prose, as the meter faltered a bit in places, but regardless, it was very entertaining and visual.
Joshua Janoski06/03/08
Haha! Very funny! I could see that coming as soon as he said his name was Pedro. Good stuff. I enjoyed this a lot.
Cheri Hardaway 06/04/08
Ahhhh... reunion crashers! Very creative, especially told in rhyme and verse. I too loved the tupperware line. Blessings, Cheri
Sara Harricharan 06/04/08
heehee! What a delightful tale! I could see this reunion going on! So many cousins and what not, I loved the second verse best of all, the ending with the second counsins who weren't really cousins, was just plain funny! Great job! ^_^
Dee Yoder 06/04/08
Oh my goodness! Now I know what CAN happen when you put signs all along the roads. Ha! So funny and descriptive; this is very creative, Yvonne. I love this tale.