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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)

TITLE: Postcard Peace
By Lynne Eliason


Postcard Peace

When Molly Maguire answered the advertisement in the London newspaper, she was doing so out of desperation. “Seeking wife from United Kingdom for Wyoming, USA, rancher. Must be Christian and love children. Domestic abilities preferred. Am able-bodied, kind-hearted man with solid financial holdings. Signed Donovan Gerry.” That was good enough for her. With no family and no money, she was more than ready for a new life. Her flaming red hair, crystal blue eyes and rosy cheeks left no doubt as to her Scottish heritage, so Molly replied quickly and Donovan’s response came in the form of a cheque for her travel expenses. Molly ventured to America.

As the comely Scot woman neared her destination, she was a bit nervous and already homesick. Riding a relic train across Nebraska, she fingered through a collection of postcards she’d had since she was a child. Pictures of the seacoasts and the lochs, all places she’d spent many happy hours were mixed with castles and churches in Edinburgh, where she’d been raised. Tears formed as she saw the postcard of The Stonehenge in Great Britain. Her family had journeyed to southern England one summer and she could still remember Papa’s voice. These postcards were all she had left. They were the very fabric of her life.

Donovan Gerry met her at the train. He was pleased with her fresh beauty, her wit and the fact that she could ride a horse well. They were married a month later, when it was apparent that they could actually like living together. A sensible wife, Molly promptly taught him the taste for colcannon and fine Scottish whiskey, but she grew to love western BBQ, square dances and the cool mountain breeze scented with juniper. Their union became a blend of tastes and cultures.

Life was pretty good on the High Creek Ranch. A son, Ian was delivered during a howling blizzard and Donovan served as midwife. Colleen, spunky like her mother, followed two years later during a spring thaw when Donovan was gathering cattle. Molly was attended by the young wife of one of their cowhands. The twins, Gus and Gentry, were born soon after on a midsummer night under much more favorable conditions with a doctor present. Donovan built a sturdy log ranch house to accommodate his family. Through it all, Donovan always kept in the back of his mind that he had taken Molly away from The United Kingdom. He often prayed, “Please God, don’t let her leave me now. Help me to find ways to make this her home, were her heart will stay.”

Through the years, they weathered tribulations and joys, always met with a fierce faith in God. Both Donovan and Molly had learned when to pray harder and when to accept God‘s will. Their beloved Colleen died from scarlet fever and they were devastated, but persevered. Sometimes, when Molly was sad, Donovan would find her gazing through her precious postcard collection. He didn’t always understand her connection with them, but was wise enough to know they brought her peace.

One crisp autumn day, Donovan saw Molly sitting on their porch. Head laid back with the sun highlighting her grey-streaked red hair, her eyes were closed and she had a subtle smile. He was struck with how content she looked. Her postcards laid in her lap. Donovan knew she’d been a little melancholy lately. Maybe a visit with her postcards was just what she had needed. As Donovan approached, he realized Molly wasn’t napping. She had gone to join the angels in heaven, maybe even holding hands with sweet Colleen that very moment. He touched her cheek gently, whispering, “Good bye, my lovely Scottish lass.”

Donovan picked up the postcards and began to look through them. They weren’t just pictures of Scotland and England. They now included cards from Niagara Falls, where they had actually honeymooned ten years after their wedding, and Cheyenne, Wyoming where they had gone for rodeos and San Antonio, Texas where they had bought cattle. There were pictures of the Rocky Mountains in their splendor and sweeping wheat fields just to the east of them, and of Creighton University in Nebraska where Ian was a student. Molly had certainly loved all these places. Donovan saw that the box for the postcards simply said, “The United Kingdom.” He then believed in his own heart how Molly Maguire from Scotland had truly lived in a “united kingdom” from right here in Wyoming.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 01/30/09
Very enjoyable. Your writing moved the reader along at a perfect pace. Loved the gentle voice of the MC and the love he had for his mail bride was apparent throughout. Good job.
Jan Ackerson 01/31/09
Love the images in the last paragraph--quite lovely and serene.

I wonder if this may have been too much story for a 750-word Challenge. Since so much time passed, you had to summarize a lot of their lives, and that resulted in some "telling, not showing". I'd have been interested in almost any one paragraph, expanded to a full story, and with more dialogue and characterization.

And these are certainly characters well worth getting to know! I was very interested in their romance.
Karlene Jacobsen02/02/09
You covered a lot of ground here and could probably expand a great deal too. It must have been tough to fit it all into the 750 word constraint.