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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: White (10/29/09)

TITLE: Tough Break, Good Barbecue
By Betty Castleberry


Wanda is my dearest friend, but I couldn’t stand another minute of her fumbling around in her purse.

“You’ve been digging in that bag forever. What are you doing? ”

She wouldn’t look at me. “Looking for something, Nancy.”

“It must not be in there.”

“I’m afraid you’re right.”

I took my eyes off the road for a second to look at her. “What do you mean?”

“I can’t find our money.”

“I just gave it to you this morning.”

“I don’t see it.”

“I’ll pull off the road and we’ll find it.”

Wanda and I had saved up for months to go to the women‘s retreat. We agreed she would keep our funds since she was normally more responsible with money.

Seeing a sign that read, “County Park”, I pulled in. “Let’s see.”

I dumped her bag out on the seat. A key chain, pens, tissues and wallet tumbled out. The wallet contained only her driver’s license and a photo of Chuck Norris. I cut my eyes at Wanda. She blushed.

Next we unpacked our suitcases, looked in the trunk, glove compartment, and under the seats, but found nothing.

Wanda wailed. “I’m sorry. Maybe I lost it at a rest stop. What’ll we do?”

We had traveled all day and needed money for lodging, gas and food. We had even skipped lunch, deciding to treat ourselves to a nice dinner that night.

I frowned. “I only have change in my purse. Didn’t bring my credit card. You know how tempted I’d be if I had.”

“I don‘t have one at all, and I’m hungry.”

“I’m starving.”

We sat in silence until Wanda pointed up ahead. “A family reunion.”

A banner strung between two trees announced “Blaine Family Reunion.”

She rolled her window down. “I smell barbecue.” Wanda giggled. ”There must be a hundred people. Let’s crash the reunion and get something to eat. They won’t notice.”

“Oh, they’ll notice. In case you didn’t catch it, we’re white. They’re not.”

“So they’re black. I bet we could persuade them that they have white relatives.”

I couldn’t believe my ears.

“Come on, but walk slow. I want to eavesdrop.”

I followed her, my curiosity getting the best of me.

We caught bits of conversation, "Dori…married now. Can’t make it. Family hasn’t met her husband.”

A thin woman with skin the color of caramel greeted us with a smile. “Hi.”

Wanda smiled back. “Hi. I’m Wanda. This is my sister, Nancy. I’m Dori’s mother-in-law. Dori knew we’d be passing through and asked us to stop and say hello.”

The woman grinned. “I’m Velma, Dori’s second cousin.” She hugged Wanda and grabbed me next. While I gave Wanda a killer look, Velma waved some folks over.

Wanda had a great time exchanging high fives with her “family”. She even accepted a spot in the badminton tournament.

An elderly gentleman approached us and tipped his fedora. “So you’re my granddaughter’s relatives?”

I felt awful and wanted to confess and run, but my con artist friend Wanda had other ideas.

“Yes, sir.”

“Sir? I’m just Seth.

He motioned to a table loaded with barbecue and all the trimmings. “Fix yourselves a plate.”

The sting of guilt couldn’t compete with my rumbling stomach, so I got in the food line behind Wanda.

We sat at a picnic table with Velma and Seth. While Wanda exchanged fashion tips with Velma, our offense ate me alive.

I spoke up. “Seth, we‘re not really…”

Wanda kicked me under the table.

I flinched. “We’re not your granddaughter’s relatives.”

Seth nodded. “I know that. Dori calls me every week. Her new husband’s not white.”

“But you’re treating us like family. Even gave us food.”

The old man put his hand on mine. “You are family. We’re all God’s children. You must have a good reason for coming here.”

Wanda looked guilty when she faced Seth. “Please forgive us. We lost our money …”

Seth interrupted her. “Forget it. Velma’s got a cell phone. You can call somebody.”

We used Velma’s phone and were about to leave when Seth stopped us. “It was the smell of that barbecue that brought you over, wasn’t it?”

I raised my eyebrows and smiled. “Yes. It did smell great, and we were starved.”

“It’s a family recipe. If you come to the next reunion, we’ll make it again.”

Wanda practically drooled. “We wouldn’t miss it.”

He waved as Wanda and I, two middle aged white women, walked away, our stomachs and hearts both full.

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This article has been read 772 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke11/05/09
very fun! And such a good point Seth makes; if only more of us would put that belief into practice!
Laury Hubrich 11/06/09
I liked the interaction between the sisters but if I had lost our money, I don't think food would be much on my mind. ugh:( lol. Very funny story and what a great host!
Catrina Bradley 11/07/09
I love a fun story with a lesson to boot. Good job with the topic, too!
stanley Bednarz11/10/09
This is the kind of writing I love, and hope to learn from.
Just the perfect touch of humor. Great idea for the challenge.
I bet Chuck Norris would laugh out loud to read it.
Beth LaBuff 11/10/09
I enjoyed the progression of this, and especially the picture of Chuck Norris in the wallet. :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/10/09
You have a "gift" for fun in your stories, and this one lives up to it! Your characters, especially old ladies, are delightful.
Lenda Blackmon11/10/09
LOL That was a great read. I loved it. You really do have a gift for putting humor in your stories. And I personally know a couple of ladies that might try and pull that off. You do too. :)
Jan Ackerson 11/11/09
So funny and sweet, and I love the way you presented the black family in non-stereotypical ways. Absolutely charming story!
Jennifer Galey11/11/09
Cute story! I could picture these two women. Very funny :)
Laura Manley11/11/09
This is priceless, from the photo of Churck Norris to the sweet nature of Seth. Excellent writing! And what a great story! Laura
Sherrie Coronas11/11/09
I just loved this and was laughing out loud the whole time. Thanks for a "light-hearted" piece with a nice underlying message.
Aaron Morrow11/11/09
Great work with the dialogue and an excellent message. And did I mention that I love barbeques, even reading about them make me drool. Very nice work!
Melanie Kerr 11/12/09
The dialogue was very well constructed. I liked the way you showed the character of Seth through his words. I am not sure how believable the scenario was, although hunger makes desperate people of us all!