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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: House For Sale
By Yvonne Blake


House For Sale
5 bdrms, lg kit, dinrm, livrm,
barn, sheds, 10 acres, pond
(207-123-000) $200,000

I count each letter again to make sure I didn’t exceed the limit. It looks so plain, so cold. It doesn’t really say anything. There is so much more. As I sit at the kitchen table, I watch the chickadees peck at their seeds and write a new one in my mind.

Family Home Must Be Sold

It is a sturdy house, built by my great grandfather for his beautiful bride, with plenty of room for his children and their children to live and laugh and love. The heavy front door stands guard, yet welcomes the weary traveler. Grandma’s rose bushes still bloom along the front porch.

The stairs, worn smooth by dozens of sleepy feet, lead up to the bedrooms, each with an eastern window to wake them each morn. You can probably find a stray feather or two from dozens of pillow fights. There’s still a bunk bed in the front room, a little wobbly from use, but my uncle’s name, Billy, is scratched in the boards under the top bunk.

Another bedroom, the master bedroom, sits majestically at the back end of the hall. The big poster bed reigns supreme, matching the solid oak wardrobe. The whole room is filled with the love of my parents and their parents, too. The tears of mourning, the whispers of love, the laughter of birth still float from the shadowy corners.

A huge braided rug covers the wide pine boards on the living room floor. The reds are from Grandpa’s old woolen hunting coat and the grays and blacks from his Sunday meeting suit. A dark upright piano stands in the corner, its keys worn thin. The stool squeaks when it turns, but the cushion was hand-stitched by my mother. If you listen carefully, you can still hear voiced blended in harmony ‘neath “The Old Rugged Cross.”

The bathroom is small, but adequate, framed into the corner of the spacious dining room. Uncle Rick installed it as a gift to Grandma, so they wouldn’t have to use the outhouse anymore. She cheered and clapped over the luxury of it. The tub has four claw feet and a rubber stopper. Its depth makes a nice pool at the end of a hot summer day.

The kitchen is the best room in the house. There’s still a cast iron sink, but the hand pump has long been replaced. The old wood stove will chase away the chill of a rainy day. It was all Grandma used when she baked bread and canned tomatoes and fried molasses doughnuts until the gas range was installed. There are canning jars on the pantry shelves, waiting for someone to fill them with apple jelly and pickles. The pantry door is marked with generations of measurements from toddlers to teens.

The screen door screeches as it opens, and many a child has heard the words “Don’t slam the screen door!” The porch swing is the perfect spot to read your favorite book or snap beans for supper. A gentle breeze sends a scent of lily-of-the-valley or lilacs or fresh mown hay, whichever season you happen to be there. It’s beautiful to watch a rain shower from the porch swing, being outside but not getting wet. You may even be blessed with a rainbow.

The row of sheds and attics that lead to the barn makes a wonderland of mystery and adventure. Years of horse tack, rakes, scythes, axes, and saws hang from nails on the walls. Mice scurry in the hay mows, now that the cats and their kittens are gone. There’s plenty of room for chickens and ducks, and even a pig or two. There are stalls for horses and pens for the cows and their calves. It’s too empty, too quiet.

The pond is great for fishing and catching frogs, and in winter, it’s nice for skating with friends. The rolling fields provide hay, of course, but are also the best place to walk in the evening twilight or toboggan on a snowy afternoon. The orchard trees are sweet and bountiful, as are the patches of berries and herbs. All is hushed… waiting for the family to come back.

House For Sale
5 bdrms, lg kit, dinrm, livrm,
barn, sheds, 10 acres, pond
(207-123-000) $200,000

I sigh as I seal the envelope and put it in the mailbox. I hope there are no replies.

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This article has been read 1851 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sunny Loomis 06/05/08
Love is spoken here. Excellent descriptions. Wish I'd grown up here.
Lynda Schultz 06/05/08
Call me—I'll buy it! Terrific description—it made me want to be there.
Joanne Sher 06/06/08
That last line TRULY says it all. Wonderful descriptions, and I love the "bookends."
Beth LaBuff 06/06/08
Yes, I think I could hear your "voiced blended in harmony 'neath "The Old Rugged Cross." This story of this house is heart-warming, I love your final sentence. Very creative!
Kristen Hester06/07/08
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I love this line: The tears of mourning, the whispers of love, the laughter of birth still float from the shadowy corners. Great writing. I want to buy it, also.
Lyn Churchyard06/07/08
Superb, Absolutely superb. You made me yearn for just a touch of this love and beauty. This is one of the best I've read this week :- )
Jan Ackerson 06/08/08
Superb! I love the way it's framed in the classified ad, and the idea of what the narrator would really like to say about the house.
Betty Castleberry06/08/08
I hope there is no buyer, either. There is much love reflected in this house and this piece. Very well done.
Karen Wilber06/08/08
Fantastic descriptions. I laughed at the screen door part (I remember hearing that). This is one of my favorites this week.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
You can't put a price on this kind of dwelling place.

Especailly liked the steps worn by sleepy feet.
Dee Yoder 06/09/08
This is beautiful and it brought to my mind many remembrances of old farmsteads I visited as a child. Your descriptions are so vivid, I could almost taste the molasses doughnuts; sound so good, too! Never heard of those before. Love this tender story.
Norma-Anne Hough06/09/08
Lovely descriptions throughout. Made me feel as though I was right there. I can see how hard it must have been for you to write about something so close to your heart. Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/09/08
This is a masterpiece of description! I hope it places HIGH. I know it does for me. This is a keeper.
Emily Gibson06/09/08
I want to know where this place is because I want it! Even if it is only in your imagination...
LaNaye Perkins06/10/08
I love your old farm house. It reminds me so much of our farm house here. It too has generations of memories held within its walls. I really loved this piece.
Joshua Janoski06/11/08
I loved this. I like how you took a tiny classified ad and then richly expanded upon it to describe what the house truly was. There is so much detail in this. I am amazed that you fit it all within 750 words. One of my favorites this week.
LauraLee Shaw06/12/08
Love this!!!! Congratulations on 1st place overall!!!!!
Sara Harricharan 06/12/08
Congrats, Vonnie! ^_^ I really liked this-especially the act of counting the letters and putting it up for sale. The last line is lovely! ^_^
Joshua Janoski06/12/08
1st place overall! Yay, Yvonne! Congratulations!
Sheri Gordon06/12/08
Congratulations on your 1st place--this is excellent. The format is so creative, and the writing superb. Great job with the topic.
Helen Dowd06/12/08
Congratulation on your first place win...A different approach to the story, a description of the home and activities...House for sale? You can buy a house if you have the money, but you CAN'T buy a home! The LOVE in the home would never be for sale...Helen
Tessy Fuller06/12/08
This was awesome. So many little details that I just loved. Great job and congrats on placing!
Beth LaBuff 06/12/08
Yay Evonne! Congrats on 1st place!
Sunny Loomis 06/12/08
Didn't I tell you I thought you'd
place very high? Love ya.
Karen Wilber06/12/08
Congrats on 1st place. Well deserved. Still one of my favorites this week.
Sharlyn Guthrie06/12/08
Laury Hubrich 06/12/08
Wow! Congratulations, Vonnie-dear! Wow! I love it! It is just wonderful. And the screen door comment brought back lots of memories -- LOL! Great writing! Magnificent!
Betsy Markman06/12/08
I've never had such a wonderful old place of my own to love, but you made me feel at home here and made your memories my own. Thanks for this.
Lollie Hofer06/12/08
Congratulations on your big win. This was a beautifully written sentimental story. I like how you started and ended the piece as well.
Lollie Hofer06/12/08
Congratulations on your big win. This was a beautifully written sentimental story. I like how you started and ended the piece as well.
Dee Yoder 06/12/08
Congratulations, Vonnie!! So happy for you!!
Michelle Mitchell06/12/08
Again, I say, I love your style of writing. I can match your passion but never your imagination and creativity. Maybe one day. Congratulations!
Catrina Bradley 06/12/08
Congratulations! I LOVE it - heart warming but heart breaking. The last line is absolutely perfect.
Marita Thelander 06/12/08
Oh...I felt my heart tug, really I did! Well done and congrats on 1st place.
Peter Stone06/15/08
Such a creative take on the topic, and well done on your placing.
Marijo Phelps09/25/08
Totally incredible seen through the generation's eyes of love! Being married to the builder (we have moved 16 times in 23 years) I can only wonder what it would be to be able to write about a house like this from my heart (and if it was really for sale, I too hope it didn't sell!)