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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

TITLE: Boudoir Makeover (750 words)
By Patricia Herchenroether


My eyes snapped open and I thought of the old shotgun leaning in the closet. That darned crow! Nearly every morning it perched in the apple tree outside my bedroom window and cawed its head off. One of these days…..I could picture that rooster imposter with buckshot-blasted tail feathers.

My second thought was the date: my birthday! I didn’t care to dwell on the numbers, but rather on my family, who were coming to visit. The kids and the closest grandchildren would be arriving soon, and they told me that I was going to get a big surprise. Oh, my, I thought. Maybe they bought me that fancy new Bark-a-lounger-thing with the heat and back massage built in. The Lord knows how much I’ve been hinting about my back pain. The kids said that it was no doubt caused by my lumpy old mattress, and I insisted that it was certainly not! That was the ORIGINAL box springs and mattress set to my lovely four-poster, and they just didn’t make them that way anymore. Hmmph!

Right after breakfast (Mother’s Oats and prune juice to keep me going and going), the whole brood showed up and piled out of two cars and a U-Haul. Hot diggity! That must be my chair in the trailer-Hoo Boy! Hugs and kisses and tears all around and we settled down with lemonade. Squirming with anticipation, I found it difficult to keep my greedy eyes from the screen door, where I could see the U-Haul taunting me from the street.

Then my daughter Sue said, “Well, Mom,” as she took my hands and drew me up from the suddenly uncomfortable soon-to-be-junked rocker, “now, you and I are going to the mall for a movie, lunch, and shopping spree for your birthday!”

I stuttered, “Oh, ah. that’s just wonderful, I, ah, don’t know what to say-so unexpected, you know.” I pictured my Bark-a-lounger sprouting wings and flying up through the clouds, just sitting and waiting for me in The Mansion until I got there. Sigh. Oh well, I guess it is a heavenly piece of furniture, surely too perfect for this world.

The shopping trip turned out to be tiring, but real nice. Sue and I don’t get much time together like we used to. I wondered why the others hadn’t come with us; I guess they weren’t exactly itching to tag along with an old Granny. Can’t blame ‘em.-I wouldn’t want to either, except I had to be here.

When we pulled up in front of my house, Sue asked, “Aren’t you curious about the U-Haul?”

I sniffed at that, “Yes, but I figured if it was any of my business, you’d tell me.” Then I saw that sneaky little grin, the one she used to wear just before she sprung something on me. But when she was little, I learned from experience to be scared to death about the surprises. Now, I just felt, oh dear, scared to death (seven times that, for everyone else in the house was wearing the same sneaky face).

We paraded upstairs and stopped in front of my closed bedroom door. “Close your eyes, Gram,” Hannah giggled. I was led into the room and everyone shuffled around me. Thank Heaven, I had supporting hands on either side. “Oh, God,” I thought, “I’m too old for this. Please give me strength so I don’t have a stroke and end up in that flying Bark-a-lounger prematurely.”

“Surprise!!!!” Everybody yelled and I opened my eyes.

My jaw fell to my chest, burying all three chins. I felt my uppers start to loosen and snapped my mouth closed just in time to trap ‘em and avoid giving these guys another hilarious moment in the life of Grandma. I was lost in my own bedroom. My pretty floral wallpaper was replaced with blue and green stripes, my ruffled eyelet curtains gave up the ghost to geometric nightmares. And my bed! The old four-poster was gone, taken to the spare room. In its place sat an open-faced deal big enough to land a plane on..

The rest of that day is a blur, but I’m sure I acted appropriately pleased and grateful for what Sue called a “boudoir makeover.” I was indeed lucky to have such a caring and generous family. I loved them with all my heart and thanked God every day. Two digital pictures sat on the coffee table, the “before and after” photos the kids took with their phones. Phones taking pictures-my lands!

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This article has been read 694 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Rudd 05/22/09
The characterization here is excellent! I love this Granny type you so well described. Well done! Thanks for the chuckle.
Kellie Henningsen05/23/09
This was so much fun to read! And so real to human nature -- all the surmising and so on. My favorite part was this line... "My jaw fell to my chest, burying all three chins. I felt my uppers start to loosen..." Too funny!
Joy Faire Stewart05/25/09
This is hilarious and had me LOL. Great job capturing Granny's voice. Love it!
Jim McWhinnie 05/25/09
A delightful and charming bit of our life of changes.
Mona Purvis05/25/09
Classic piece, interesting MC. Humor and suspense.
Loved it.
Carol Slider 05/25/09
Hilarious! I love your MC's voice, so delightfully real. Well done!
Emily Gibson05/25/09
This was great fun and such a good point of view and voice. Great "before" and "after" too!
(did she ever get the chair?)
Myrna Noyes05/25/09
Hee-hee! This was soooooo FUNNY!! :D

You did a great job with this cute story! I love your descriptive style and wonderful way with words--"I could picture that rooster imposter with buckshot-blasted tail feathers." :D

I look forward to reading more of your work!
Pamela Kliewer05/26/09
What a delightful read. I chuckled throughout. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard05/26/09
You had me hooked from the very first line. Excellent characterization.
My jaw fell to my chest, burying all three chins. I felt my uppers start to loosen and snapped my mouth closed just in time to trap ‘em and avoid giving these guys another hilarious moment in the life of Grandma LOL this just about floored me. Wonderful story.