Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: Swinging Fortune
By Helen Murray
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“Chuck, how are you? Haven’t seen you for years, not since you marched out as Captain of the school and Dux as well. What are you up to these days?’
“Hi Barry. Good to see you too. I’m home on a visit from interstate. Mum’s ill”
“Oh, that’s bad news. What’s the problem?”
“It’s lung cancer. The treatment has knocked her around.”
“May I visit her? She was a champion?”
“I think she’d love that. Come around on Sunday and meet the family. We’re all here.”
On Sunday Barry, with his wife and two youngsters duly arrived at the old home where he’d spent many happy hours practicing football with his team-mate.
Greetings and introductions complete, the two men sat outside on the verandah, watching their children negotiate the old rope swing that hung from an ancient oak tree. Some of them needed a push to make the swing work, but the older children worked hard to make it go higher themselves, far beyond what a good push could do. Squeals and cries greeted their successes as they reported what they could see over the old stone wall of the garden.
“You know, Barry, I feel like a kid on a swing. Right now the swing’s only going low and I need a push. Mum’s treatment, you know, and business has taken a tumble in these depressed times. I’ve two factories full of people with families to feed, and children at expensive schools. To be honest the going’s tough. What say you?
“Agreed, the going’s tough. Property isn’t selling like it used to, and several salesmen can’t achieve what they did last year. The twins are booked to begin private school next year. But you know what they say. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’.”
“It’s a great old saying.” The men sat silently for a moment, then “You know…” and “I reckon…” erupted from two mouths at the same time. They laughed, and Barry offered
“After you old mate”.
“Ever the gentleman, eh!” Chuck had always grudgingly admired this team-mate who had been his rock-like supporter as captain those years ago. “Well, I was going to say that I have exciting plans for diversification in my factories. We plan new products that are less exotic and depression affected. I’m thinking, if this works, we’ll actually come out in great shape. It’s a calculated risk, but I think it’s a good one, still to be tested.”
“Trust you to come out with a new, sound game plan Chuck. Nothing’s changed. You always came out with a winning strategy. My bet is that you have done it again!”
“Hope you are right. What were you about to say?”
You know, I think I must have learned some strategic method from you in the old days. We too have a plan, for cheap housing development for the rental market and the first home buyer market. There are negotiations going on at government level, but the signs are good. I’m pretty excited actually.”
The friends gripped each others hands in the fierce old club handshake that meant ‘Let them be afraid!’
“It’s like those kids on the swing,” said Barry. It’s the energy that you invest in the downswing that produces the thrust for the height.”
“And the squeals of success! Hey Bazza, you didn’t get that from your old Bible.”
“Hey, ‘There’s nothing new under the sun.’ And don’t forget those magnificent, winning words of Paul’s, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”*
“I wish.” Chuck became agitated so that Barry’s hand reached out to Chuck’s shoulder as he enquired,
“OK Chuck, what’s happening?”
A quiet moment-.
“My wife’s planning on leaving me. I was having it on with my secretary and she found out when she dropped into the office one day and we were out to lunch. If she leaves then the whole business is up for grabs, because she’s a part owner.”
“Lunch is on. Come on fellas.” The imperative resounded.
Chuck straightened up and the two obeyed orders, one arm around the shoulder of the other.
“Right. We’ve got a lunch date tomorrow mate. Just you and me. Don’t be late.”
“You can bet on it.” Chuck grinned at his dependable old buddy.
* Romans 8:28
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