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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Snap (09/04/08)

TITLE: Mama Knows Beans
By Sharlyn Guthrie


Judith peered out her kitchen window as she finished washing the last canning jar. Molly was walking slowly up the lane, lost in thought, it seemed. Judith picked up her dishpan and nudged the screen door open with her hip. Walking to the edge of the wide porch, she heaved the dishwater out into the yard. Then she placed it near the door and set out to greet Molly.

“Good morning sweetheart!” Mother wrapped daughter in a warm embrace. Although Molly only lived a mile away, Judith and Henry had been allowing the newlyweds plenty of time to themselves. “I’m so glad you could come and help with the beans today. Can I get you some water?”

“No, Mama. I’m just fine. From the looks of it, we better get started. I’ve never seen so many green beans!”

“I planted a new variety. They’re extra long ones. I thought we’d sit out here on the side porch where it’s breezier. I’m forever grateful to Henry for building this porch.” Judith set one heaping bushel basket between the two ladder-back chairs she had arranged. Each chair held a small pan for depositing the stems they would remove from the beans. A large tub sat ready to collect the bite-sized bean pieces. “These beans are so long, they’ll need two to three snaps each, I’m afraid.”

The women settled in and each grabbed a large handful of beans.

Snap, snap, snap…

“If I figured it right, you and Galen will have been married three months tomorrow.”

Snap, snap, snap…

“You’re right, Mama.”

Snap, snap, snap…

Judith arched one eyebrow and took in Molly’s crestfallen countenance.

“Are you okay, Molly? Is Galen treating you right?”

Snap, snap, snap…

“Mama, did things change after you and Daddy were married? I mean…it’s not like Galen is cruel or anything, he just doesn’t hold my hand and look me in the eyes the way he used to. I tie a fresh ribbon in my hair before he comes in, and he doesn’t even notice.” Molly sniffed and stopped long enough to dab at her eyes with her handkerchief. “Oh Mama, I clean the house and cook a delicious meal and Galen walks right in with his muddy boots on. During dinner he goes on about the weather, the crops, and getting the barn built before winter. He never asks about my day. By the time I’ve done the dishes and mopped the floor again, I’m exhausted. And Galen…”

Judith watched as color spread across her daughters cheeks. “Let me guess. Galen’s ready for romance, and you’re so upset with him you don’t even want to share his bed.”

“How did you know, Mama?”

“Don’t forget I was once a new bride, too.”

“Daddy treated you that way? I had no idea. How did you put up with him?”

“I stopped trying to fix him, and tried to fix myself instead.”

“But Mama, I’m doing everything for him. I’m trying so hard to be a good wife.”

Snap, snap, snap…

“Have you told him all those things you told me?”

“Of course. I tell him every day.”

“I was afraid of that.”

“But Daddy said we mustn’t keep any secrets.”

“Learning to hold your tongue isn’t the same thing as keeping secrets. I would almost guarantee he heard you the first time you told him.”

Snap, snap, snap…

“Molly, when was the last time you told Galen how much you appreciate the hard work he does every day? The Bible says for a woman to see to it that she honors her husband. I think that God, our creator, knew we would find it easier to nag and complain, so he made a point of telling us to honor instead. Try it tonight, Molly.”

“Okay, Mama.”

Snap, snap, snap…


“My, you look beautiful today, Molly. You’ll have to sidestep the wood Henry carried up for our canning. Are you ready for more hard work?”

“Sure, Mama…you were right, you know.”

“Right? Right about what, darling?”

“I did what you said. I told Galen how proud I am of him.”


“Let’s just say he noticed my hair ribbon.” Molly blushed. “He helped with the dishes, too. Mama, how did you get so smart?”

Judith laughed. “It’s not my wisdom, dear. It’s God’s. Some people think it’s outdated, but God’s wisdom never grows old…unlike these beans. We really need to get to work.”

“Yes, Mama. Tell me, though. Did Daddy snore and steal the covers, too?”

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This article has been read 890 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 09/12/08
I love your title. I could see the whole conversation in this heart-warming tale.
Lynda Schultz 09/13/08
There was an old saying: "you don't know beans" but this Mama knows beans, and a whole lot more. Nicely done.
Laury Hubrich 09/14/08
What a wise mother. I enjoyed this story. Very good!
Joanne Sher 09/14/08
I love the atmosphere you created here. I was right there on the porch with them, and the advice was beautifully shared and showed a wonderful relationship.
Shelley Ledfors 09/15/08
A charming story. I enjoyed this! Your characterizations made me wish I could have sat on the porch and helped the new bride and wise Mom with the bean snapping!
Joy Faire Stewart09/15/08
Oh, this is my kind of story. Love the dialogue, wisdom, and smooth writing style.
Kristen Hester09/15/08
Awww. I love the title, the pace and the wonderful dialogue. This is great! I could picture the whole thing.
Beckie Stewart09/17/08
This was indeed, masterfully done.
LauraLee Shaw09/17/08
This was beautiful and a great way to approach the topic. Well done.
T. F. Chezum09/17/08
Very, very well done. I really enjoyed the read.
Karlene Jacobsen09/17/08
Great lesson within a sweet story. Well done.