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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: The Grammy is In
By Kristen Hester


Doris sighed heavily and looked to heaven for strength when she heard her grown granddaughter’s voice.

“Grammy, are you home?” Ashley yelled as she let herself in, the screen door slamming behind her.

“I’m back here, in the bathroom,” Doris called as she shook her toothbrush dry and put it in the holder. She dried her hands on a towel, then met her granddaughter in the narrow hallway outside her bedroom.

Ashley pouted and batted sad eyes at her grandmother, silently pleading for sympathy. It was the routine, and Doris knew exactly what was expected of her.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” Doris asked as she stroked her granddaughter’s thick blond hair. On the rare days that Ashley’s life was not in crisis, she created one. “Follow me into the bedroom and tell me all about it.”

The two walked into the room and Ashley sunk down into the recliner in the corner. She pushed back on the chair, causing the foot rest to pop up. Ashley kicked off her rhinestone-lined flip flops and for a second was distracted by her toe nails.

“My pedicure is already smudged,” she commented to herself, while she waited for her grandmother’s attention.

“I can listen while I work, dear. Go ahead and tell me what’s bothering you today.” Doris moved efficiently around the room, tackling her daily duties.

“It’s Travis,” Ashley began. “We’re having problems.”

Doris stopped for a moment and looked with concern at her granddaughter. “But you said you had a wonderful time on the honeymoon. What happened?”

“Now that we’re back home, he’s so demanding.”

“Travis? Demanding? That’s hard to imagine.”

“Well, he thinks I’m spending too much money. I thought when we got married we were supposed to put our money together and share everything. He thinks because he makes more money, he can tell me what I can and can’t buy.”

Doris was surprised. “More money? Did you get a job?”

Ashley studied her nails. “Not yet. But I’m his wife. He’s supposed to provide for me. I have needs, you know.”

“Yes, I know, dear,” Doris someone managed to say calmly. “Do you have a budget?”

“Well...yes.” Ashley didn’t seem to like the question.

“Is your spending within the budget?”

“I went a little over,” Ashley said defensively. “I was just trying to make myself look pretty for him.”

“Oh, Ashley, I’ve seen the way Travis looks at you. I don’t think you need to spend money on yourself for him to find you attractive.” Doris tossed a damp rag to the sink in the adjacent bathroom, then returned to the bed.

“That’s what Travis said.” she admitted sheepishly. “I know we decided to save for a house and all, but it’s taking forever and we can’t have any fun. He hardly ever wants to go out to eat. He said three times a week is all we can afford.”

“Only three times a week?” Doris asked, trying hard not to sound too sarcastic. She continued moving around the bed, fluffing pillows and smoothing out the sheets.

Ashley was quiet for a moment as she watched her grandmother work. The silence was interrupted by music. “Is it real or just another crush? Do you catch a breath when I look at you?”

Doris jumped at the sound. “What in heaven’s name....?”

“Sorry,” Ashley shrugged. “It’s my new ring tone. David Archuleta,” she explained as she dug a slim phone out of her tight jeans. She looked at the screen. “Oh, Grammy, this is Tiff. We’re meeting at the mall. I’d better run.” She hopped up, leaving her chair in the reclined position. "Bye, Grammy. Bye, Pops,” she called over her shoulder as put the phone up to her ear. “Hello, Tiff? Yea, I’m on my way...” her perky voice slowly faded from Doris’s hearing as Ashley made her rapid exit.

Doris sat on the edge of the bed and sighed. She stroked the white hair of the man she’d pledged her love to 52 years ago. She lathered his emotionless face to prepare him for his daily shave, the same as she’d done for the past 3 years, 2 months and 3 weeks.

“I tell you what, Bill,” she spoke tenderly to her husband, though she knew he couldn’t answer. “The kids today don’t know how to wait for anything. It’s so frustrating listening to Ashley whine.” She gingerly ran the razor down the left side of his face. “I’m afraid I don’t have much patience.”

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This article has been read 952 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 08/28/08
The realistic depiction of Ashley is sadly disturbing because it's so true of the young kids today. Too many have no idea what sacrifice means--and that's a shame. On a brighter note, I did a lot of head bobbing as I related to this piece. Grannies everywhere give this granny a pat on the back for her patience! Good job!
Catrina Bradley 08/28/08
I've seen this attitude on too many young women in recent years and it is oh-so sad. I love this line: "On the rare days that Ashley’s life was not in crisis, she created one." I know many who fit that description. The ending warmed and broke my heart at the same time. Wonderful writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/30/08
Your story, right on topic,
introduces us to a wonderful character. I'd love to know Grammy.
Glynis Becker08/31/08
Fantastic piece. One of the qualities I try so hard to instill in my children is delayed gratification. That is one thing that proves maturity. I loved the characters and the situation here. Great job!
Allison Egley 08/31/08
Awwww. I loved the ending. So sweet. I'd say she has quite a bit of patience! Great job.
Dee Yoder 08/31/08
The comparison to Grammy's life at the end of this wonderful story really packs a punch and shows her grand-daughter's "troubles" up for what they really are:the results of immaturity. Great story!
Yvonne Blake 08/31/08
It sounds like Ashley needs to spend lots more time with her patient Grammy so she'll learn a little of it.
Lynda Schultz 08/31/08
That last picture says it all—she doesn't have any patience and there she is, a living example of it. Well done.
Betsy Markman09/01/08
Excellent! It is astonishing that self-centered Ashley could say and feel such things right next to her grandfather's bed. It's sad that people really can be that way. And I thought the last line was so perfect! Grammy recognized that there was impatience in her heart and felt bad about it, even though her behavior was so patient. She was looking at the heart of everything.
Very good.
Carole Robishaw 09/02/08
Very good tale of today's young people, I was quite surprised by the end, with Grandpa being there. Very good story.
Valarie Sullivan09/02/08
So often, the invalid are treated as "furniture" in the room, as this granddaughter did. Excellent portrait of the grandmother's relationship with husband and granddaughter.
Marlene Austin09/03/08
I was deluded by the sights you willingly revealed, distracted by the "rotten" granddaughter, empathetic to the MC, and appalled at the discovery there was another party present which the granddaughter completely ignored! Oh, my... :]
Lynda Lee Schab 09/03/08
Very real...sadly so. Talk about patience, though. Grammy is an ideal example, both in regards to her husband and her granddaughter. She should have told her off, right there. LOL. Of course, who hasn't been Ashley at some point? Hmmm. Something to think about. Nice descriptions, excellent writing, as always.
Joshua Janoski09/04/08
I enjoyed reading this story. I got a bit frustrated with Ashley and was really wanting to give her a piece of my mind, but then I wouldn't be demonstrating patience would I? LOL. I'm glad that Grammy handled it much better than I would have. :)

Thanks for sharing this.
LauraLee Shaw09/04/08
Kristen, this piece is brilliant, and I'm glad the judges thought so too! Congrats on another Editor's Choice!
Pam Carlson-Hetland09/04/08
Absolutely wonderful piece of writing. Loved the title. And the contrast between the generations and the "patience" of the two women is so very striking. Excellent!!!! And congrats on your well deserved EC.
Sheri Gordon09/04/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is really, really good. I can't believe the Grandmother held her tongue--I was giving Ashley a verbal lashing. Great job with the dialogue, and nice take on the topic.
Lauryn Abbott09/04/08
Kristen, this is wonderful! So much reality here and I love the title. Grammy is certainly a very special person! Very well deserved EC!
Jason Swiney09/04/08
By the looks of the many (and lengthy) yellow boxes, I think you definitely touched a nerve with this piece. A truly realistic story (because I wanted Granny to physically slap the girl upside the head) and a great last line. Congrats on a well deserved EC!
Chely Roach09/05/08
This was beyond excellent...superb. Loved the zinger last line. Super congratulations!
Beth LaBuff 09/06/08
Your ending is an absolute winner. Congrats on your EC!!