Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: All Things Beautiful
By Dolores Stohler
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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. It’s 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, he‘ll 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. I’ll 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.
It’s 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. We’re standing on this corner because my dad doesn’t like country music. Mommy loves it but she doesn’t drive. And she doesn’t want to go alone, so she takes me along. Later, at the theater, I watch my mother’s beautiful face come alive with pleasure as she laughs and claps at all the performances. The evening has etched it’s face in my mind.
We’re going to a flower show in Chicago now. It’s springtime and I’m 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 I’ll 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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