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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: Day-By-Day Anticipation
By Dee Yoder


The lights of the stage made my headache scream, and I felt my knees getting wobbly again. The choir director kept stopping the bass section to go over and over the notes on the next to last stanza, and I was feeling increasingly weary.

“OK. Let’s take it from the beginning. Ready?” John lifted his arms and the music began. It was the fourth run-through of the song that would be our opening at our church’s annual Christmas play on Christmas Eve.

It’s a Christmas countdown and we can hardly wait.
Day-by-day anticipation; of our favorite celebration.
It’s a Christmas countdown as each day disappears.
Three, two, one before you know it, Christmas is here!

We had sung this song with enthusiasm four tries ago, but now, we barely moved our lips. My feet ached, as well as my head, and all I wanted to do was go home and go to sleep—preferably for a month.

Finally, the practice was over, and I drove home in a stupor. As I walked in the kitchen door, Dale greeted me with a kiss and said, “You look like a whipped puppy.”

“Yeah. I feel like a whipped puppy, too.”

“How many more practices?”

I crossed to the corkboard and marked off the night with a giant red “X.” “Only five, and it seems like five too many. I’m going to get a bath and hit the hay…you coming?”

“Naw. I did some shopping tonight and I have a few things to wrap.” He grinned at me and I gave him a big hug as I headed down the hall.

“You’re a good hubby…don’t stay up too late,” I called over my shoulder.

As I relaxed into the warm water, I thought of the five practices to come and groaned. I was so exhausted; I just didn’t see how I was going to make it through them and then the two performances on Christmas Eve. “Lord, give me strength,” I prayed as I toweled off and stumbled to bed.

I pushed my way through the next five practices and could hardly wait to get home each night to wield my red marker on that date on the calendar. “One day to go,” I muttered.

The day of the performances was at hand, and I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open while we waited backstage for the cue to line up. As I followed the soprano ahead of me to the stage, my knees were once again made of jello, and I drew a deep breath and said a quick prayer.

It’s a Christmas countdown and we can hardly wait. Day by day anticipation…” we sang for the hundredth time.

At the end of the performance, I wobbled my way off stage and collapsed into the car that my husband had pulled around to the front doors of the church narthex.

“Only one more performance, Honey, and then you’re done! You all sang very well…it was good,” he cheered. Rah. Rah. Rah.

My head hit the pillow as soon as I could get my shoes off, and I sleepily asked my hubby to set the alarm for an hour later. Our last performance would be in two hours, and I just had to get a nap…I just had to.

When I woke to the shrill ring of the clock, I felt weaker than water, and I couldn’t get out of bed. And then I thought of something…could it be?

“Dale,” I called.


“Could you do me a favor?”

“Anything you say, Honey.”

“Could you please go to the drugstore and get a pregnancy test for me?” Silence.

I could hear Dale jump out of his recliner and rush to our room. His face was white, and his eyes were wide when he met my eyes. “Really? ...” he breathed.

“Well, probably nothing, but it wouldn’t hurt to check—you think?” He nodded dumbly and hurried off.

Later that night, as I stood in front of my church family, I felt a surreal flutter of happiness covering me like angel wings each time I remembered the blue lines on the two tests that I had taken that afternoon. I smiled at Dale sitting in the front row. He looked slightly shell-shocked, but he returned my smile with a trembly-chinned grin.

It seemed we were about to have our own day-by-day anticipation in the coming year. “Three, two, one before you know it…” I whispered.

*Author Unknown

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This article has been read 1442 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 10/31/08
Ohh - what a great twist. Love how you dropped the hints here and there (didn't catch them when I read the first time LOL). Nice.
Leah Nichols 11/01/08
I couldn't figure out why she was so tired? What's so hard about singing? :) I thought it was great - nice twist to the story. Excellent writing!
Carole Robishaw 11/01/08
This was very good, I was getting nervous about her being so tired, sooo glad it was for a good reason. Good job, I liked the MC's voice, and the hubby's reactions.
Betty Castleberry11/01/08
I had no clue that ending was coming. Loved this well written story.
Melanie Kerr 11/01/08
I thought you were maybe going to say something about cancer treatment making her so tired. I am glad it wasn't that!

Sally Hanan11/01/08
Aw, this is just adorable, and to find out it's true makes it even sweeter.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/02/08
You had me worried too, loved the surprise explanation and ending. Well done.
Karlene Jacobsen11/02/08
Surprise! A gift from above, yay!
I loved how husband supported wife in the telling of this.
Kristen Hester11/02/08
What a sweet story. Now she really has something to countdown to. Good job.
Laury Hubrich 11/05/08
Oh wow! Two countdowns going on here! Very good. Awesome creativity!
Yvonne Blake 11/05/08
Hee, hee...that countdown of choir practices is VERY familiar! By the time the program is there, you're too tired to sing! I love your ending!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/05/08
I was wondering at the beginning why your mc was so tired, but you brought an end to my wondering beautifully. I kind of fell in love with the husband in the story for his thoughtful ways. That was a great idea for "counting down."
George Parler 11/05/08
Loved the countdown shift. A pleasant surprise to the reader. Good job.
Beckie Stewart11/05/08
This was great. Loved the surprise at the end.
Celeste Ammirata11/05/08
What a cute story. I kind of thought she was pregnant, with how tired she was, so I wasn't surprised. The story is well written and had an easy flow. Nicely done.
LauraLee Shaw11/06/08
Clever story for the topic, and the build of anticipation is great. Love it.