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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)

TITLE: Missing Pickets
By Betty Castleberry


I thought family reunions were all about eating fried chicken and visiting, but Gloria had to plan a scavenger hunt, of all things. She claimed it would give the kids something to do, and said we older folk needed to participate, too, just to show we werenít a bunch of reunion poopers.

She got up in front of the group, looking like an old lady trying to look young, which was, in fact, what she was. I think that after a certain age it ought to be illegal to show any cleavage. Gloria was way past that age, but there she stood in a low-cut blouse passing out lists.

According to her, we werenít supposed to collect the scavenger hunt items, just photograph them. We would divide up into teams and have an hour to get back to the park. The team that returned first with all the items photographed would win.

The Paulson clan began teaming up in groups of four, with no thought to age. Thatís how I found myself, Liza Paulson Whitley, on a team with Gloria, and our two elderly cousins, Jesse and Pete. What was the point? It would take us an hour just to find our bifocals and read the list. I was trying to be agreeable, though, so I studied the items.

Scavenger Hunt List:

1. Blue jay

2. Stained glass window

3. Pine Tree

4. Stop sign

5. Red Ford truck

6. Screen door

7. A black dog

8. French fries

9. Picket fence with missing pickets

10. Police officer

It didnít look too intimidating. The four of us left to photograph our treasures, with Jesse designated as the photographer, because he was the only one with a digital camera.

The first stop was Burger Heaven where we found the French fries. There was a stop sign on the corner, so we got a picture of that, too. Jesse ate the fries, but not before he took the photo.

Gloria suggested driving down by the lake to photograph the pine tree. Pete was driving and headed the wrong direction, but we happened to pass a church. Jesse snapped the stained glass window. Getting back on course, we saw a black dog with a white patch on its left side. We took the picture from the right. Presto, a black dog.

When we got to the lake, we got a picture of a pine tree and a blue jay fairly easily. We even got a picture of a red Ford truck. We drove around the lake, looking at the cottages. Pete stopped the car and we got out, deciding we could do better on foot. Some of the cottages had picket fences. I had my fingers crossed, hoping we could find one with missing pickets. Jesse saw a screen door on one of the cottages, so he marched right up the walk and shot it. The rest of us stood at the end of the walk and waited on him.

We were about to leave when I noticed a loose picket in the fence. Iím not proud of myself for thinking it, but I did see that it wouldnít take much to push that picket out and take a quick photo. Weíd actually be doing the home owners a favor, because we could hammer the picket back in and make it stronger that it was before. Besides, it didnít really look like anyone was home. The owners would never know.

I pulled Jesse along with me and examined the loose picket. With one kick, it was lying on the ground. Pete went to get his hammer from the trunk while Jesse took a photo of the fence, missing picket and all. Pete had just returned with the hammer when the police officer arrived.

The officer didnít want to hear our explanation; especially not after Jesse got right in his face and snapped a close up of him. At least we got photos of everything on the list.

We lost the competition, though. By the time we had explained everything and been let out of jail, several hours had passed. Next month, weíll all be doing community service for vandalism and trespassing by picking up trash in the park. If Jesse brings his camera, Iíll kill him.

Gloria has promised at the next family reunion we wonít have a scavenger hunt. However, she has mentioned going to a water park. Evidently that low cut blouse didnít show enough cleavage to suit her.

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This article has been read 1093 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chely Roach06/12/08
God bless you...thank you...this was hilarious. I can't begin to ooze enough at the progression of this, with the perfectly timed arrival of the officer. I wish I wrote this...I LOVED IT!
Beckie Stewart06/12/08
What a fun read! Liked this take on the subject.
Dianne Janak06/13/08
This was fun to read. I laughed out loud. What a creative idea (the picture scavenger hunt) and making all age groups participate gave the whole piece a different twist. I love this kind of humor. Great story. Good execution.
Joanne Sher 06/13/08
As soon as I saw item 10 on the list, I KNEW we were in for fun - and I loved the ride. A fun as all everything piece, with an ending to DIE for :)
Lynda Schultz 06/13/08
Really cute. And I love the ending.
Holly Westefeld06/13/08
This was a fun read overall, but at risk of marching to a different drummer, I would have preferred that it conclude with the next to last paragraph.
Karen Wilber06/14/08
Favorite part? Jesse snapping the picture of the police officer. "At least we got photos..." LOL. Catchy title.
Dee Yoder 06/15/08
Oh my! So fun! Love this MC and her sad tale of woe...and you gave me a great idea for our next family reunion, too! (I know a few relatives I wouldn't mind sending on a wild goose-er- I mean SCAVENEGR hunt.)Hee hee.
LaNaye Perkins06/16/08
This was so much fun to read. I loved your story this week. Well done my friend.
Lyn Churchyard06/16/08
Missing pickets? LOL missing marbles would be more like it. This was such a fun read. I loved 'series of unfortunate events' that landed them in jail. Gloria had better watch herself when she does community service :-). Great story BettyDee, I loved it.
Mariane Holbrook 06/16/08
Betty, I'm learning that everything you write is very good and usually very, very funny! This was your usual fare of top-notch writing with a grin! Kudos, my friend! Yer the best!
Jan Ackerson 06/16/08
Betty--you're definitely the humor queen of FaithWriters, and I adore everything you write. This is priceless.
Yvonne Blake 06/16/08
Hey...that sounds like fun! I loved your description of the hunt and Gloria.
Great writing, as usual
Sara Harricharan 06/18/08
ROFL! Poor Liza! What an adventure and all of that just for the scavenger hunt? Wow! Loved the hilarious way in which this story unfolded...is there a waterpark sequel? ^_^
Catrina Bradley 06/18/08
Simply super. Cleverly told, and masterfully written. The last line is a keeper. :)
Glynis Becker06/18/08
Highly enjoyable! Great job.
Joshua Janoski06/19/08
There is one writer that consistently makes me laugh with nearly everything she writes, and that writer is YOU, Betty. I loved the ending of this story. So funny! :)
Sheri Gordon06/19/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is very cute and clever. Would love to have been with them on their hunt.
Sara Harricharan 06/19/08
***Congrats!*** ^_^
Lyn Churchyard06/19/08
Oh well done Betty on your EC (how many is that now???) This was so much fun.
Debbie Wistrom06/19/08
So glad this placed, because I was slow on reading this week.

So much fun, loved the sense of humor of your MC, Liza.

More, more, more,,,,I could see the up close photo of the cop.

Colin Swann06/21/08
Thanks you masters for your expertise and encouragement that we writers experience from you, right from starting out as beginners.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/21/08
This was just delightful--just like you!
Peter Stone06/22/08
What an absolute riot! Especially how the list seemed almost prophetic by putting the fence picket just before the police officer! Well done.
Lenda Blackmon07/16/08
Well, I was gonna have a scavenger hunt at our next reunion but not now! I know some of our folks would end up in trouble for sure. That was so funny and I needed a grin tonight. So thanks and keep it up.