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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Lights (10/30/08)

TITLE: Brighten the Corner
By Dixie Phillips
11/05/08


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The bright lights of the Chautauqua Circuit splashed on Ina’s face. Standing in the wings, she squinted and strained to see the large crowd that had gathered. She couldn’t believe that in just a few short weeks she would join the ranks of these elite individuals. Her dream to travel with the Circuit was finally coming true. She realized that only the brightest and most talented were chosen. She whispered a prayer of thanksgiving.

The emcee pointed to Ina, who hid behind the curtain and shouted. “Ladies and gentleman, I’d like to introduce to you a star on the horizon of the Chautauqua Circuit – Miss Ina Ogdon. She will be joining our team of entertainers next month.”

Thunderous applause filled the tent. Ina waltzed on the stage, bowed and then made a hasty exit.

“Miss Ina, there’s a telegram for you.” Parson Simon said as Ima hurried down the stairs.

Ina quickly ripped open the envelope and read its contents. Her face flushed and her heart beat wildly.

“Is something wrong, Miss Ina?” the parson asked.

Ina nodded. “It’s my father. He’s been in a serious accident.”

Parson Simon peered over his wire-rimmed spectacles. “Do you need help making arrangements to go home?”

Stuffing the letter back in the envelope, Ina said, “No, I’ll pack tonight and head out first thing in the morning.”

“I’ll sure be praying for you, Miss Ina.”

“Thank you, Parson. We’ll need all the prayers we can get.”

**

Ina scanned the familiar furnishings in her old home place. She hurried to her father’s bedside and caressed his feverish forehead with a cool cloth. “Papa, I’m here.”

The old man winced. He slowly opened his heavy eyelids. “Ina, what about the Circuit and your dreams?”

Tears trickled down Ina’s rosy cheeks. “Papa, you are far more important to me than some dream. Besides, Papa, Christmas is coming. I’ll do some decorating and baking. That should help you get well.”

Ina planted a kiss on her father’s cheek and watched as he drifted off to sleep.

**

The lights in the window flickered. Ina sat down at the old upright piano and reflected back on her childhood memories. Her father had scrimped and saved so she could be mentored by mighty orators. Even after her mother died, he insisted she continue learning and developing her gift. All his investment and Ina’s hard work had finally paid off. If she traveled with the Circuit, she would minister to thousands.

Ina stared at the Christmas lights. They seemed to grow brighter and brighter. Inside Ina’s heart, a light was shining brighter, too. She knew what God was asking. Just like the Christmas lights that lit up a dark room. She was to brighten the corner in her father’s world. She found a pen and paper. In just a few minutes, she penned these lyrics.

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the Bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

**
Like the little lad who gave his lunch to Jesus, Ina gave her dreams to the Lord. She never ministered on the Chautauqua Circuit, but ministered to her father until his death. At first, she was disappointed that she could not perform before thousands, but soon she discovered that God took her small dream and fed the multitudes. More than twenty-million copies of Ina Ogdon’s song -“Brighten the Corner” have been printed.
Brighten the Corner Copyright Public Domain


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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/06/08
You did an excellent job of describing details to a real story. That's a favorite song of mine from childhood, and I'm glad to know it has a good story behind it.
Sally Hanan11/07/08
Wow. Thanks for letting us know the story. You have a good mix of description and dialog in this.
Joanne Sher 11/08/08
Oh - am not familiar with this hymn (though I MAY know the writer of this entry? ;) ), but this was fascinating. Wonderful characterization.