Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)

TITLE: Stash
By Betty Castleberry


Mama’s eyes were puffy and red. She pulled her hanky from her apron pocket and blew her nose.

I put my arms around her waist, resting my head against her stomach.

She patted my head. “Bobby, your uncle William has gone to be with the Lord.”

“He died?”

She nodded.

“Why Mama?”

“He was just too sick. He gave up.”

Death was something almost secretive in our house, or at least it seemed that way to my seven year old mind. I could remember only one other time when someone had died. Mr. Lawrence, the butter and egg man, had stopped coming by. The adults whispered around us kids, but I caught bits of conversation. “Consumption. Such a pity. He‘s in a better place.

Mama pulled me away from her apron and held me by the shoulders. “There will be a funeral tomorrow. Your daddy’s a pall bearer and I am sitting with your aunts in the front row. That means you and Danny will have to sit in one of the pews behind us. I’ve put Danny in charge. I know you both will act like young men for Mama, won’t you?”

My twelve year old brother would be my boss. That was the same as having no boss. I wanted to ask what a pall bearer was, but I didn’t want Mama to think too hard. She might change her mind about putting Danny in charge.

Mama fussed in the kitchen the rest of the day, and before I knew it, the morning of the funeral had arrived.

Snow flakes swirled in the air as we walked up the church steps. Papa had come earlier, leaving Mama to bring me and Danny. The coal stove was lit and the church house warm. Mama stopped at the pew where my cousins were already assembled. She bent down and whispered. “Sit here and behave. No acting like wild Indians, you hear? Danny, keep an eye on your brother.”

We watched as Mama made her way to the first pew. Papa sat with my uncles on the other side, looking handsome in his suit.

My cousin Sarah glanced at me and straightened the bow in her hair. I stuck my tongue out at her. Danny poked me in the ribs, hard. “Stop it, Bobby.”

I glared at my brother. Any other time, he would stick his tongue out, too. Maybe he was taking his boss job seriously.

Pastor McCoy started speaking. He mentioned Uncle William’s name, and the names of his wife and children.

Mama sat in the front row, her head nodding in agreement as the preacher talked about what a good man Uncle William had been.

I looked down and picked at a loose thread in my pants. A tiny hole appeared. I glanced up at Danny. He was staring straight ahead. Satisfied he wasn’t paying attention; I reached into my pocket and touched the BBs I had stashed. I worked a couple out of my pocket. They felt hard and cool when I rolled them around in my palm.

Danny’s hand came down over mine. He narrowed his eyes and pressed his lips together. He whispered, his nostrils flaring. “What are you doing with my BBs?”

“Took ’em out of your box.”

“You were in my box?”

Smiling with satisfaction, I whispered back, “Yep.”

Pastor McCoy raised his voice. He was saying something about getting to Heaven. Danny looked up, but not before he pinched me.

When I reached to pinch him back, he grabbed my hand. “Stop fiddling and sit still.”

It wasn’t fair. He wasn’t really my boss. I stuck my hand back in my pocket and grabbed more BBs.

Just when the pastor asked if anyone would like to share a story about Uncle William, I realized I couldn’t hold all the BBs. They spilled from my hand and hit the floor, some of them rolling down the center aisle.

They clattered against the pine planks as they made their way to the front of the church. Mama turned around, her hand over her mouth. I leaned out to try to catch a few, but it was pointless. Danny grabbed the back of my suspenders and yanked, jerking me back up in my seat.

Papa turned around and his eyes met mine. I knew my funeral was next. Then the strangest thing happened. He winked. Relieved, I winked back.

Pastor McCoy chuckled and started speaking again. Hallelujah.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 694 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart09/13/09
So true-to-life, I was there in the pew with Danny and Bobby. Loved Dad's reaction at the end.
Chely Roach09/13/09
"I knew my funeral was next." What a classic line. Loved your MC, especially his smugness when he confirmed that he got the BB's out of his brother's box, lol. Great story with a great title and a perfect ending. :)
Sarah Elisabeth 09/13/09
My entry also had not been reviewed before hinting time as well. I think it was that way for most.

Enjoyed this read about little boys and brothers. Such innocence at that age when they really don't know what's going on in life. I remember squealing and waving at my older brother during my grandmother's funeral...at age five.

The entire story flowed very well!
Jan Ackerson 09/14/09
I love this! There were three or four times when I thought it would go one direction, but it went another...perfect!
Gregory Kane09/14/09
This flows really smoothly and the child's cheekiness comes across loud and clear.
I appreciate that this is somewhat subjective, but I felt the voice was a little too mature for a seven-year-old.
Loren T. Lowery09/14/09
In many ways I could picture my self as Bobby: restless, inquisitive, mischievous and finally relieved to live and tell about it the next day. Your writing held my attention the entire way through and I couldn't help but think there is hidden in your words, possibly between the folk in the pews a special and secreted message.
Bryan Ridenour09/14/09
I really liked this. I was taken back to my childhood, when I decided to launch a paper airplane after the final "amen" at church. My dad, the pastor, wasn't too thrilled. Not only was it inappropriate behavior, but I hit the guest speaker. Nicely written!
Charla Diehl 09/14/09
This reminded me of an embarrassing moment my youngest daughter caused once during a service. Funny now, but not then. I felt the dialog between the brothers was truly believable and smiled when Bobby thought his funeral was next. Cute and entertaining story woven around a sad event.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/15/09
Excellent character development, and such a fun story. Making a funeral story humorous without seeming callous could be tricky, but you pulled it off! I love it that the father winked and the pastor chuckled.
Laury Hubrich 09/16/09
I certainly can't relate to this - I was the BIG sister:) Little brothers and sisters were truly annoying. Loved this story!
Mariane Holbrook 09/16/09
And people wonder why we love little boys! I'm glad I had two and mine would have rolled BBs down to the front of the church accidentally, too, only they would have crawled under every pew until they retrieved them all! hehe You're such a great story teller, Betty, that I'd love to see all these put in a best-selling book and illustrated so cute. I love your humor and so does everyone else. I'm so glad we're friends. Your work always makes me laugh or blesses me, sometimes both at the same time. Kudos!
Dee Yoder 09/16/09
Oh my! Boys can be fun--and I love these two. Love the dad's reaction, too. That's my kind of dad.