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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: Don't Run in the House


"Lookout, Jamie!"

"Oops." Jamie grabbed the vase before it toppled to the floor.

"How many times do I have to ask you not to run in the house?"

Jamie looked down at his bare feet. "Sorry, Mom."

Ginny fingered her son's untamed blond curls. "To be honest, Jamie, I would be more concerned about your feet getting cut than this...this old thing." Ginny pushed the vase further back on the entry foyer table so it was closer to the wall.

"It's ugly," Ben said quietly.

The monstrosity spoiled the sense of a modern welcome they once had in the entrance area of their home. Unfortunately, the vase was to remain. Ginny sighed heavily. "Your great aunt Sarah doesn't think it's ugly. She would be very upset with me if I was to get rid of it." The door bell rang. "We just never know when she's going to visit."


Oops! She thought. "Oh, um. Hello, Aunt Sarah," Ginny responded as best she could. "Jamie and I were, um, just talking about you."

"Well now, how is young Jamie?" Aunt Sarah stepped into the entry room and turned her back to the boy's mother and unbuttoned her coat.

"I'm okay, thank you. Mom can I go play with the kittens now?"

Ginny eased the coat from the frail woman's back. "Yes, but put your shoes on and don't run in the house."

It was too late. He had dashed out of the room. A few seconds later the back door banged shut.

"Boys." The women responded together.

Ginny hung the coat in the closet by the door. She breathed in a lung full of air and released it slowly before following the older woman into the kitchen. "Tea?" she inquired picking up the kettle.

"Thanks. Hot and strong with a tad of sugar. You know how I like it."

"Okay, Aunty."

While the water heated, Ginny listened to the continuous chatter from her eccentric and only aunt. She always had a story; mostly tales she had repeated often. A change in her aunt's tone caught Ginny's attention.

"You know, Ginny, my boys would never have appreciated that vase as much as you do."

Ginny obliged with a small smile. "Really?" She stood to pour the water in to the teapot and placed cups and saucers on the table. Mugs would never be tolerated by Lady Sarah Groves. "What do you mean?" Ginny persisted after a hushed moment.

"When I decided to downsize to the condo, so the boys move into Manor House with their families," Sarah continued, "they were actually going to toss the vase out. Toss it out, I say. How could they?"

How could they indeed? Ginny thought. Instead she said: "Is that why you gave it to me?"

"One day when I'm dead, they'll be sorry. Ginny, when I'm gone you can do whatever you like with the vase. Just leave it where it is for now. It's all yours."

"Thanks", Ginny mumbled her reply with a forced smile. She poured the brewed tea in silence. Great, she thought, she could live another twenty years before I can do what should have been done along time ago--toss it out.

The back door banged and Jamie raced past the two women sipping their tea.

"Don't run in the hou..." Before she could finish the sentence there was a loud crash from the front room. Ginny put her cup down with a clatter and stared momentarily into the eyes opposite that had suddenly glazed over. Ginny stood and rushed from the room.

"Oops. Sorry, Mom."

Ginny looked at her son and then to the tiled floor where dozens of broken porcelain pieces were scattered. Well at least he has shoes on, she thought.

"Oh, my!"

The gasped remark came from behind Ginny. Her attention moved to the ashen face of Aunt Sarah who was leaning against the door frame; the back of her hand against her forehead.

"I do hope you have insurance, Ginny dear."

"Why?" Ginny asked vaguely.

"It may have been a cheap replica but it was still worth $40,000."

Mother and son stared at each other; their thoughts intermingled.


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This article has been read 574 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Rudd 01/23/10
We never can tell what priceless treasures are really around us, huh? There's a good message here in an interesting story. Thanks for sharing!
Rachel Phelps01/24/10
Oh dear! I would have liked to know more about the vase, what it was and why it was so valuable. Great characters!
Lyn Churchyard01/24/10
Oh my... oops indeed!

Good flow of conversation - very natural. Jamie and his bare feet reminded me of 'Smiley' (only older Aussie's would understand that reference).

That didn't go where I thought it was going. I was waiting for Aunty to die and then for Ginny to find something rare and valuable secreted in the bottom of the vase. Well done on fooling me :-)
Allen Stark01/25/10
Good story. What I was left thinking is that we should not store up our treasures on earth, but in Heaven.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/25/10
Great story, I knew the vase was going to get broken in front of the aunt, but I thought for sure there would be something valuable hidden inside it somehow. I never dreamed it was the ugly vase that was expensive. Your ending surprised me. Nice job.
Debbie Roome 01/26/10
Oh wow! That was a big oops. I would have felt quite sick!!!
Barbara Lynn Culler01/26/10
Great story. I too was thinking that the vase would break in front of the aunt, but that she would agree that it was a horrid old thing and had wanted to get rid of it.
Patricia Herchenroether01/26/10
Ha ha. Great story and terrific dialogue. Love the ending. Patty
Carole Robishaw 01/26/10
Good read. I too expected something would be found in the vase, rather than it being the vase itself. Good twist.
Carol Slider 01/26/10
No, I definitely didn't see that coming! I think Aunt Sarah should have warned her about its value, though, so she could put it away in a vault or something (at least until her son was grown!). Good story, well written!
Virgil Youngblood 01/26/10
Definitely an Oops! and a fun read. There is a lesson to be learned from this story. Good writing.
Edmond Ng 01/26/10
Interesting read. I was also thinking along the line that something valuable is in the vase. Surprise, surprise ... the value is the object, not what's in the object. (",) Nicely written story!
Bryan Ridenour01/27/10
Very well written and you had me intrigued by the importance of the vase. The ending made the story well worth the read. A definite "oops" here! Good job.
Jan Ackerson 01/27/10
Fun story--and you definitely kept us holding our breath, wondering what was going to happen, and when.

I don't know much about vases--but I wouldn't use the word "cheap" to describe something worth $40,000!

Loved your narrator's voice.
Mona Purvis01/27/10
Was I the only one who thought the vase held someone's ashes?
I love china/pottery and I would have checked it out.
Great solid story.

Leah Nichols 01/27/10
Ha ha! I love the twist! Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/27/10
I particularly liked the mystery of the vase and then the twist. I was thinking it might have something valuable inside. Excellent story.
Chely Roach01/27/10
Tee hee, what an entertaining story. Well done!
Kimberly Russell01/27/10
I was one that thought about ashes....cute story.
Eileen Knowles01/27/10
Funny story! I didn't see the ending coming either. Good job!
Julie Seeto01/28/10
Great story, you had me guessing the whole way through and never thinking it was the vase itself that was valuable.

Was the missing word "could"? Also, the word 'along' should be two words - 'a long' [probably just a typo, tho'].

I enjoyed the mystery of the vase. Thanks for writing.
Janice Fitzpatrick01/28/10
Very enjoyable and fun to read. I wondered for a moment, but didn't know for sure, if the vase was going to be worth anything. Great ending. Dialogue and characters were right on. Good job!