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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Griselda Rose
By Marlene Bonney
04/03/09


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Bursts of thunder crash through the black skies, accompanied by flashes of white lightning that glance off the eaves of our ornate roof. A full-fledged storm spouting mounting wind gusts up to forty-five miles per hour is upon us.

And I revel in it. “God’s cleansing,” my mother used to call rainstorms. I long to dance out under it’s far-reaching tentacles, but it is not allowed. So, instead, I watch it’s unleashing power, wishing that I, too, could release myself into wild abandon and freedom.

A large willow tree frantically dances to the storm’s rhythm a few yards to the north simultaneously with the crash of a maple tree limb splitting and severing itself from it’s tree trunk. Animals have already scampered for their various shelters. Hailstones as large as cats-eye marbles are raining down, carpeting the ground in pebbly haphazard wonder and I am glad I am covered and safe from their battering. The noise on the roof is deafening, but still not able to drown out my thoughts.

“Storms give energy to my old bones, as if I could almost become young and carefree again,” I shout to no one in particular, knowing the reality is that those days have come and gone.



As the storm subsides, I dream of bygone days when I was fresh and vibrant and people were drawn to me like deer to a water hole. My friends and family and I used to play a game, trying to guess which of us would be the most popular on any given day, our mission in life to comfort and heal and bring joy to those around us. Invariably, I would win, my youthful and vibrant personality shining through like the colors of a bright rainbow against a summer sky.

Unexpectedly, my favorite clients were not the children, the choice to many of my colleagues, although their antics and laughter were balm to my spirits. I was at MY best with the middle-aged and care-worn, the old and infirm, the anxiety-ridden and bereft. To them I was a haven, a symbol of hope, much like a ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds of adversity in their lives.

“UP AND DOWN AND ALL AROUND,
SOOTHE YOUR CARES AWAY!
UP AND DOWN AND ALL AROUND,
AS THE MUSIC PLAYS,” I was known to chant, and I liked to think I was usually heard above the Skater’s Waltz wafting it’s lulling melody through the breeze.

Then, like as not, my latest customer would break out in a smile or laughter and a previously furrowed brow would smooth out as dark thoughts drifted away on the wings of freedom. Caught up in the spirit of the moment, one unlikely prim matron actually giggled along with the youngsters close by!



The intense quiet brings me back to the present, birds frolicking in shiny puddles the only echo from the tempest’s aftermath. The sun plays hide and seek with the clouds as they whiten up against the hazy horizon, and I feel renewed, if not encouraged, by the brightening weather.

As the day wears on, the grass dries in wavelets of different shades of green and brown pigments dotted with occasional yellow dandelion pop-ups, reminding me of one of my grandmother’s old patchwork quilts. My body glistens under the lustrous ornamentation that gently caresses my skin and I want to flex my muscles, arthritic caricatures too long dormant.

“Is it more of my imagination, or do I hear voices approaching?” I marvel. “My mind must be playing tricks on me, for no one is allowed to visit us anymore.”


“Hey, Mack, get a load of these antiques! Magnificent, aren’t they? The owner said our homeless shelter could take whatever strikes our fancy and he will use it as a tax write-off.”

“Wow! Bob could work wonders with his mechanical genius fixing these. Think he’d be able to install them at Harvest House?”

“Bet so! Our patrons will sure get a kick out of them!”



“My name is Griselda Carousel Rose and I have been reborn! Stop by Harvest House and I’ll give you the ride of your life!”

“UP AND DOWN AND ALL AROUND,
SOOTHE YOUR CARES AWAY!
UP AND DOWN AND ALL AROUND,
AS THE MUSIC PLAYS.”


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This article has been read 357 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bryan Ridenour04/09/09
Well written, surprise ending, nicely done!
Beth LaBuff 04/12/09
Ah ha!! Very clever! In retrospect it all fits together, "which of us would be the most popular on any given day" and your other hints. :) I enjoyed this!
Lollie Hofer 04/14/09
I enjoyed reading the story. Even though I knew the story wasn't going to have an obvious ending, it kept me intrigued because I didn't figure out what it was about until the secret was revealed at the end.
Myrna Noyes04/14/09
Very interesting! Who would have thought it was about an old carousel! :) You have a very descriptive style of writing, and I enjoyed your story!