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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: Forgotten on the Back Porch
By Yvonne Blake


“Be careful," cried out a tiny voice.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there. Oh deary me! You are a bit young to be outside in the dark. What’s your name, Child?”

“I’m Cindy, Ma’am. I used to play with Tammy a long time ago, but she hasn't talked to me in a long time. I think she's forgotten all about me. Are you her Grammy?”

The old woman sighed and gathered the little girl in her warm arms. “So Tammy pushed you out, too? Tsk, Tsk. One of these days, she’ll wish we were back inside, close to her heart.”

“There’s lots of stuff out here on the back porch, Grammy. Be careful. I found her tricycle and storybooks and a few stuffed teddy bears. I suppose they were just in her way.”

“I see there are a few other people out here, too.”

“Yes, most of them are really nice like you, but some were angry when they got pushed out of her life. I was glad when they left. They said some bad words and said that if Tammy didn’t want them, then they didn’t want her either and weren’t going to hang around waiting for her to let them back in.”

The loud beeping of a delivery truck interrupted their conversation as it backed up to the front door. They could see Tammy ushering the men with the enormous wide-screen TV indoors. An exuberant cheer rose from inside, and the music and partying continued. Some punks with tattoos and pierced faces rang the doorbell and also crowded in the front way.

Soon the back door, with its peeling paint and squeaky hinges, swung open. A man with a black suit and a Bible tumbled out. He stood up, brushed the dust from his sleeve, and shook his head toward the closed door in pity.

As Grammy’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, she saw another man near the door. His face was sad, so sad. Every few minutes he lifted his scarred hands and knocked at the closed door. It was hard to imagine that anyone inside would be able to hear the steady knocking, but he didn’t give up. The Sad Man looked into Grammy’s face with a sympathetic knowing gaze. He seemed to know her thoughts. He turned again to the door and continued knocking.

The night grew colder and darker. Grammy found a discarded knitted blanket to wrap around Cindy and herself. She hummed “The Old Rugged Cross.” Others gathered close and joined in. The night seemed to last forever. The Sad Man continued knocking.

The next day, a shiny red Corvette pulled into the driveway. A tall, blond, tanned young man bounded up to the front door. Tammy greeted him with a flirtatious flutter of her eyelids and kissed him with her painted lips. A man’s voice thundered from within.

“What? NO! I will not allow it!”

“Dad, I’m not a child anymore!”

The group on the back porch raised their heads to listen. It didn’t sound good. The minister bowed his head in prayer. Cindy began to cry. The Sad Man continued knocking. The weathered squeaky door swung open. A man, whose face was red and sweaty stumbled backwards, a thin woman with graying hair beside him.

“I’m still your father—no matter how old you get!” he hollered at the slammed door.

The ones on the back porch stared at the couple in stunned sorrow. The woman wandered to the pile of books and toys. She clutched a rag doll to her breast and sobbed. To think that Tammy would push her own parents out of her life was not good!

Life passed day by day and the back porch became more crowded. There were teachers and aunts and neighborhood friends. They talked of times when things had been happier. Cindy sang her Sunday school songs. The minister read the Bible while Grammy prayed and prayed. The Sad Man stayed by the door and continued knocking.

Then one day, the music in the house stopped. The red Corvette left. The house was quiet—too quiet—something was wrong. The ones on the back porch waited. Time seemed to stop.

“Jesus loves me, this I know…” Cindy’s clear voice floated in the air.

“Please, Lord, bring her back to Yourself,” prayed Grammy.

The Sad Man raised his hand to knock again, but the door moved. Slowly the gap widened. Tammy looked at them with tears on her face.

“I’m so sorry.”

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This article has been read 899 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/07/09
Your analogy was presented excellently and your message was clear. I thought the saddest picture was Jesus knocking on the door and not receiving entrance. The last line was just right.
Sara Harricharan 05/07/09
Gave me goosebumps just reading this. I'm glad that Tammy 'came around'. I was so hoping that she would. This was a creative look on what happens in our lives when we lock others out of our hearts, especially the ONE who needs to be in there. Thank you for sharing this special piece!
Charla Diehl 05/09/09
This was right on target for the topic--and it truly held my interest from start to finish. A very creative way to show the selfish side and then, the repentant side of choices made in haste, and then love. The image of Jesus patiently knocking on our "door" stirred me.
Leah Nichols 05/10/09
The last line definitely clinched it. Nice job! A very creative analogy that makes the perfect point.
Sunny Loomis 05/11/09
Very well crafted. Jesus showed patience knocking. Glad she made the right choice in the end.
Myrna Noyes05/11/09
Your title caught my eye, and your well-written story kept me reading with interest right to the excellent ending! I love stories that teach truths and offer hope in such an engaging manner. Good job! :)
Carole Robishaw 05/12/09
WOW! This was really good! I caught myself holding my breath in anticipation.
Bryan Ridenour05/12/09
Wonderfully written and it reminds me once again that Jesus is a gentleman...He does not barge in patiently waits, knocking. Well done.
Lollie Hofer05/12/09
Wow! I don't know if there are words to describe my emotions right now. I'll never forger the image of Jesus knocking and knocking and knocking. Simply beautiful!
Patricia Herchenroether05/12/09
Really creative analogy and great ending! Jesus never gives up and I'm so grateful-that could have been me!
Gregory Kane05/13/09
I enjoyed the sense of camaradarie among the group on the porch. Drenched with spiritual significance
Mona Purvis05/13/09
Nothing more beautiful and precious than redemption. Very compelling story, so significant. Got a few in my family I'm out on the porch waiting for.
Shelley Ledfors 05/13/09
Wow. This is both creative and powerful...really well done!
Betty Castleberry05/13/09
I like your illustrations. I'm glad your MC came around. Nicely done.
Dee Yoder 05/14/09
Poignant, Vonnie. The analogy and message are powerfully creative with the topic, too. So many just can't hear that knock and so many are waiting and praying for their loved ones to answer.
Chely Roach05/14/09
Fantastic story. Wow. Very creative. Well done!