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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)

TITLE: Horse Feathers
By Betty Castleberry


My sister Carrie and I are Aunt Bonnie’s substitute children, since she never had any of her own. Bonnie is our father’s only living sibling. To say she isn’t feisty would be like saying there are no fish in the ocean.

Carrie called late one evening. “Sarah,” she pondered, “Let’s gather up our baking stuff and take it to Aunt Bonnie’s next Friday. She needs some stimulation.”

I raised my eyebrows. “You think she’d even get out of her recliner to come into the kitchen?”

“We’ll make her. It will be good for her.”

I reluctantly agreed and met Carrie at our aunt’s house, carrying a laundry basket full of baking supplies.

Aunt Bonnie was in her usual spot in front of the TV. She eyed the things we were bringing in and frowned. “What are you girls doing now?”

Even though Carrie and I are middle aged, she still refers to us as “girls.”

I smiled. “We are here to bake cookies, Aunt Bonnie.”

“Horse feathers,” she grumped.

“Come on in the kitchen and keep us company.”


It was as simple as that. She had made up her mind.

Carrie tried. “Please? We need your advice.”

“I said no. I’m not moving from my recliner.”

Carrie and I exchanged glances and took our things to the kitchen. I shook my head. “She’s stubborn. How hard would it be for us to slide her chair in here? It’s only a few feet.”

“Let’s try.”

We returned to the living room. Carrie got in back of Aunt Bonnie’s chair, and I got in front. I spoke first. “Hang on, Aunt Bonnie, we’re going for a ride.” Carrie pushed and I pulled.

Aunt Bonnie shook her fist in the air. Her flesh wobbled from her bony arm. “Stop this. Right now.”

“We are just taking you to the kitchen.”

She continued to protest until we had her situated, still in her chair, facing the kitchen work space. “Now you have a bird’s eye view of everything we’re doing .” I kissed the top of her head, noting the thinning white hair.

The little woman’s nostrils flared. “Horse feathers.”

Carrie and I measured and mixed and chatted with Aunt Bonnie. Actually, we chatted to Aunt Bonnie. She wasn’t speaking to us.

Spontaneously, I started singing “Jingle Bell Rock.“ I danced around the kitchen, waving the rolling pin in the air.

Aunt Bonnie set her thin lips, then spoke. “Sarah, you never could carry a tune. That sounds awful.”

“But I’m having so much fun.”

Carrie joined in on the chorus and we circled Aunt Bonnie’s chair, clapping and kicking up our legs, Rockette style.

She refused to look at us.

We returned to our baking chores, and soon had the first batch of cookies ready to decorate. We pushed Aunt Bonnie’s chair around to face the table and put the cookies in front of her, along with raisins, sprinkles, and colored sugar. I pointed to the cookies. “Here, Aunt Bonnie. These need to be decorated.”

Defiantly, she shoved a wad of raisins into a snowman’s doughy face. “There.”

Carrie looked at me and winked. “Nice job, Auntie.”

I suppressed a laugh. “Oh, I agree. Whatever floats your boat.”

She stared at the two of us and stuffed an unbaked cookie in her mouth.

While we were readying the next batch, I started singing again. This time I felt led to sing “Silent Night.”

My flat alto voice didn’t do the song justice, but it was from the heart. Carrie added her equally flat voice to the mix.

Aunt Bonnie snuck a peek in our direction. She picked up two raisins and placed the raisins carefully on a cookie, giving the snowman eyes.

Carrie and I continued to sing while our aunt finished decorating the cookies.

I retrieved the pan from her. “Looks like these are ready for the oven. Thank you, Aunt Bonnie. These cookies look great.”

The plucky little woman folded her arms across her chest. I saw a hint of a twinkle in her eyes as she replied, “Horse feathers.”

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This article has been read 1019 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw10/23/08
Aw, this is precious! I love this Aunt Bonnie character--she's a hoot! Excellent on topic as well. Great job!
LaNaye Perkins10/24/08
One of my absolute favorites this week! Well done my FaithWriter friend.
Charla Diehl 10/24/08
Good job! Loved that the girls took Aunt Bonnie, chair and all, into the kitchen. Sometimes the elderly just need loveable coaxing.
Joanne Sher 10/25/08
I LOVE all three characters- your characterization is wonderful. My favorite, though, is definitely Carrie. What a hoot! Just fun and delightful reading.
Dixie Phillips10/26/08
Awwww, shucks... this is such a good story.... I loved how they overlooked Aunt Bonnie's rude ways and brought her some "SON"shine any way. I loved the repetition of "HORSE FEATHERS". Thanks to your story, I will now add it to my vocabulary. :-)
Scott Sheets10/26/08
What a neat way to get their Aunt involved in the holiday. Very engaging. I could picture the two sliding her rocker into the kitchen. The only that seemed a little out of place to me was when you said she had a "bird's eye view" and she is sitting in a rocker. I usually think of a bird's eye view as looking from above something. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this touching tale. Thanks for sharing!
Gregory Kane10/27/08
Charming and easy-going with a very satisfying finale.
Interestingly, I couldn't decide the age of the two nieces, whether they were in their early 20s or late 40s! Either way, a delightful picture
Angela M. Baker-Bridge10/27/08
Great reminder to keep after the aged members of our families and not just let them rot in their recliners, even if it's their choice. Wonderful story.
Sharlyn Guthrie10/27/08
How do you do it? Pack so much fun into one little story, that is? I could just see these women pushing/dragging their aunt kicking and screaming into the kitchen. I like how she eventually softened up...a little.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/28/08
You developed all three characters marvelously and made me love each of them. Great story!
Karlene Jacobsen10/28/08
Horse feathers! I loved it! You had me laughing with the "girls" at Aunt Bonnie's plucky attitude.
Leah Nichols 10/29/08
Great story! Nice work on the topic.
Celeste Ammirata10/29/08
I love this line.....To say she isn’t feisty would be like saying there are no fish in the ocean. This is a cute story about how everyone needs to feel needed and loved. Great job.
Laury Hubrich 10/29/08
Loved this! A very fun read!
Joshua Janoski10/30/08
Love the title. I also love how they made this "scrooge" of an aunt start to come around and enjoy the holidays. Fun story, and I appreciate you sharing it.