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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: Journey Farr
By Mona Purvis


I grew up the day the brooch went missing. Until that day my life was filled with adventure and the intoxication of girlhood.

“Lovey, I've never seen you so bewildered! You've turned the house upside down. It'll show up. I've yet to see a bauble walk away on its own.” My grandfather expected nothing less of this cold winter's day than serenity, a warm fire glowing in the massive hearth and a good cigar.

Grandmother Burrell sat straight-backed against a heavy mahogany chair and stared into the empty drawer of her desk. She reached up and pushed back the lock of hair that had managed to loosen itself from the snow-white mound atop her regal head. I could feel her cool blue eyes look in my direction and search my soul.

The object of this intense search was a brooch that had been in my grandmother's family for several generations. It was a magnificent piece of jewelry by anyone's standards; five brilliant red gemstones were attached as a crown to four teardrop equally glorious red stones that dangled on white gold chains embedded with small brilliant diamonds.

On my sixteenth birthday my grandmother had pinned it to my dress. “This will be yours one day, Journey. Your blessed mother left us before it passed to her.”

My grandmother had never forgiven my father for taking her daughter so far away. My dark hair and eyes were a ready reminder of their union.

The black velvet box with gold lettering Raramuri that had been the cocoon for the treasure was not in the small compartment in Grandmother's desk. The key to the drawer hung from a silver chain around my grandmother's neck and I watched as she mindlessly toyed with it.

Three days passed with no resolution to the mystery of the missing brooch. A hush had fallen over the household mimicking mourning of a loved one. On the night of the third day my grandmother knocked and entered my room.

“A letter has come from Alice Farr inviting you to join her at the mission. Your grandfather and I think it best you should go”

So it is with abruptness I left my childhood home to join Aunt Alice to work among the Tarahumara Indians. Aunt Alice was my father's younger sister and had served with him in the mission before the flash-flood that had taken the lives of my father and mother when I was four.

The Tarahumara are a quiet, gentle people known as the running indians who live in caves and under cliffs and in small cabins in the northern canyons of Mexico. As a people, they had no interest in money or material things. Dressed in white shirts and wraparounds with red headbands they were easy to spot running along the trails of the canyons. It was not unusual for them to run miles and miles each day which they did effortlessly.

The mission served to bring schooling to the Tarahumara children as well as medical care to the whole village. My father had worked tirelessly to treat modern diseases of measles and chicken pox that so easily annihilated whole clans within the tribe.

The years I spent among the Tarahumara as a young woman enlightened me in countless ways. My choice to follow my father into medicine came quite naturally and I went abroad to study.

My grandfather had passed away while I was working in the mission and my grandmother lived only one year to the day he died. She had never regained her vitality after the brooch went missing and his death was just too much for her to bear.

It was left up to me to dispose of the family home and all the contents. I suffered through the sorting of personal items and left the rest to the estate auctioneer. Anything unsold on auction day was put on a truck and donated to a local charity.

I returned to live among the Tarahumara. My medical training was put to good use and these simple, kind people became family to me.

“Dr. Farr! Dr. Farr!” The little brown girl put the mail on my desk and eagerly awaited the piece of chewing gum I offered.

Opening a small package I began to read... found lodged in an old desk...heard about the mission at church...please accept.

Out on my desk fell a black velvet box with Raramuri in gold lettering...

Raramuri means runner in Tahahumara

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This article has been read 701 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/08/09
Love the double meaning in the title, and the delicious irony in the ending.

This left me with lots of questions about the "back story"--if felt as if it needed to be expanded.

Wonderful writing; I enjoyed this very much.
c clemons10/09/09
Excellent writing and a very interesting story.
Allen Stark10/11/09
Nice story. Nice flow. Nice ending.
Rachel Phelps10/12/09
I liked the story, but found some parts of it jarring. Pacing might have been better if we had less telling and more showing, and perhaps selected fewer details. Overall, it feels like the word limit may have interrupted an excellent story.
Betty Castleberry10/13/09
I was totally enthralled waiting to see what happened to the "bauble".

Since you asked for red ink, I will tell you it felt to me like there are two separate stories pieced together here. Sometimes cutting even more and replacing with a paragraph or two of explanation and tying together actually works better.

This was still a very enjoyable piece to read. I loved the ending, too. Mystery solved.
Teresa Lee Rainey10/13/09
This story captured my attention and held it, waiting to see what would happen. I'll admit that it did seem to jump in areas, but I enjoyed it just the same.
Laury Hubrich 10/14/09
Love this story but so much more needs to be said... You've wet my appetite.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/14/09
I really enjoyed the "two" stories. I can see expansion opportunities for both though you tied them together well with finding the broach.
Pamela Kliewer10/14/09
I love this line: Until that day my life was filled with adventure and the intoxication of girlhood. - exactly how I felt as a girl... and sometimes, still do. :-) You do have a great imagination and I liked this story very much.