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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: All Things Beautiful
By Dolores Stohler


Growing old has many drawbacks, itís true, but Iíve had the pleasure of discovering a never once suspected compensation for growing old and arthritic. Iím having flashbacks into the past, gilt-edged memories from childhood all but forgotten with the passage of time. Theyíve surfaced now and catch me unaware. And there is love, so much love that I can taste it, smell it, feel itÖ

Delectable smells from the oven, the savory scent of bacon and eggs frying, hot coffee perking -- they all combine to bring me tumbling out of bed in the early morning hours and send me zooming in like a honeybee to partake of a meal fit for the angels of Heaven. Itís only 5:00 am, but Dad must leave for work early because World War II is in full swing. My dad is an essential worker on the home front, drawing patterns that will make up the steel parts of fighter planes. After breakfast, heĎll be picked up by one of the other three members of his car pool to drive the twenty some miles into Chicago (fuel was precious, sound familiar?) Just now I linger over a breakfast that includes hot biscuits, light as a feather. They melt in my mouth and send rivulets of melted butter running down my chin.

Mother is a marvelous cook and I know that dinner tonight will include fried chicken and strawberry shortcake with strawberries from our garden. Iíll set the table in the dining room while mother is cooking, smoothing the cloth of snowy white linen, setting out real silverware and creating a bouquet of flowers for the centerpiece.


The sky is ablaze with the rumble and krrack of fireworks, Many hues of sparkling color brighten the sky in their moment of glory. They dive towards the ground where they sizzle and fade from view. My small body trembles with awe. My heart swells with pride as a band strikes up The Star Spangled Banner while an American flag made of fireworks dazzles the field in front of me. My arms reach out as though to embrace the night and capture its charm forever. A sob of joy escapes my throat.


Itís a brisk Chicago night in winter and I am seven years old. I stand on a street corner with my Mom, waiting for a streetcar that will take us downtown to the theater where the National Barn Dance is being held. Dainty flakes of snow begin to fall like tiny stars from the sky and I hold my rabbit fur muff to my face to brush them away. The fur is soft and warm so I keep it there. Weíre standing on this corner because my dad doesnít like country music. Mommy loves it but she doesnít drive. And she doesnít want to go alone, so she takes me along. Later, at the theater, I watch my motherís beautiful face come alive with pleasure as she laughs and claps at all the performances. The evening has etched itís face in my mind.


Weíre going to a flower show in Chicago now. Itís springtime and Iím still age seven, but a marvelous change has taken place. On Easter Sunday I gave my heart to Jesus. There were no fireworks displays like Iíll experience later on when we move to the suburbs. But in my heart is a picture of Him--my hero--the one who died to make a place for me in Heaven. Joy engulfs me as I think of Him and behold all the wondrous flowers he has made. The air is heavy with their scent. I bend to smell the lilies and burst with pleasure. He has made all things beautiful in their time.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/17/08
I'm glad your memories have come back so vividly and that you've shared them. I enjoyed reading them.
Sara Harricharan 07/23/08
I love these memories! So vivid and clear with so many special touches to make them each unique. I liked the last one the best. Nicely done! ^_^