Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)
TITLE: Heat, Humidity, and God's Own Timing
By Genia Gilbert
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Eight -year-old Sarah Wallace sat in the porch swing watching bumblebees buzzing around a gardenia bush, and a ruby-throated hummingbird darting in and out of the red petunias. Sarah was bored. It was great to be out of school for the summer, but it had been a month now, and there was only so much a kid could do in the country life of Southwest Arkansas. She loved being outside, but today the air was heavy and their old thermometer registered 99 degrees.
As if on cue, she heard light footsteps around the corner of the house.
“Hey Sarah, come over here.” said a low voice. She recognized it right away. It was Willie Cargill from across the road. She and Willie were the same age, and were fast friends, although Sarah got irritated with him when he tried to boss her around. Still, he was much more fun than her older sister, Mattie, who always wanted to play "school" – with herself as the teacher, of course. What’s the point of being out of school, if you’re just going to pretend you’re there? Sarah thought.
“Sarah!” Willie was getting impatient. “Let’s go wade in the creek. My Mom is busy baking pies for Sunday dinner, and she won’t miss me for hours.”
Now she knew why he was being so secretive. They weren’t allowed to go to the creek alone, because some parts were deep, and there could be snakes about. She hesitated, realizing that Momma was lying down with baby Cassie, getting her to sleep. Usually they both drifted off and Momma got a much needed nap too. She held back only for a moment, as trickles of sweat crept through her hair and down the back of her neck. How good the cool creek water would feel rippling over her feet and legs.
“Okay, Willie, but we can’t stay too long. And I can’t get my hair wet.”
Lowering their heads as they passed the windows, they picked up speed and raced down the path to the creek. Flinging their everyday sneakers aside, they waded in, laughing and feeling the pebbles and cool mud between their toes. The water itself was crystal clear and felt wonderful.
They waded until they were up to their knees, then decided to stop. It was so tempting to go deeper, and to splash each other, and probably they’d have done both, but suddenly Willie stopped, took a sharp breath and pointed.
“Sarah, get back - right now.”
On a flat protruding rock lay coiled the biggest water moccasin they had ever seen. Wide-eyed, the two of them scrambled up the bank, grabbed their shoes, not taking time to put them on. They went barefooted, at breakneck speed, up the path to the yard where they fell on the green grass and began to pant, then laugh, desperately trying to keep quiet.
If either of their mothers ever suspected anything, Sarah and Willie didn’t know it.
June 30, 1955:
The sizzling heat and humidity had begun early that year. Sarah’s heart felt heavier than the Arkansas air. High school graduation meant big changes. Willie, now called Will, and still her best friend, would be staying to help operate the family construction business. He’d be taking classes at the local college, and working slowly toward a degree in architecture. Sarah would attend a college several hours away.
“Hey, girl,” she heard Will say, as he walked up on the porch, grinning. He’d said he wanted to talk with her about something very important.
“I know that God has a plan for my life, and for yours, Sarah, and I hope that plan includes you being my wife. Right now, I want that more than anything in the world, but our folks want us to take our time and see. Think we can do that?"
With tears, Sarah nodded.
June 30, 2005:
Sitting on the front porch of their old but well-kept home, Sarah and Will Cargill gazed thoughtfully across the freshly watered lawn. Many summers had come and gone. They had raised their children, cared for aging parents, and now found themselves retired and not so young anymore.
“Time for a walk,” Will groaned as he got up. Sarah grunted a bit, stood to her feet and laughed.
“Race you to the creek,” she teased, as he reached for his walking stick.
“This is just in case there are snakes, you know.”
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