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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)

TITLE: Daffy
By Pamela Kliewer


Hmph! What good can come of a family with small children moving in next door? I let the pale yellow curtain I’d been peeking through fall against the window. It bounced back as if it too, was disgusted.

I’m enjoying my life just fine without a bunch of snotty nosed kids running around my yard trampling my flowers. Hmph!

Why did those people have to move in anyway? All the kids in this neighborhood finally grew up and moved away and now more are moving in just when I’m beginning to enjoy the quietness of my days and nights without hearing kids yelling and screaming all the time. Hmph!

There goes peace as I know it.

Nothing good can come of this, I tell you! Nothing. I might as well pack up and move away right now.

I sit through my dinner watching the news. I push the TV tray away when I’m done, continue sitting on the couch watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. I spend my days the same way I spend my nights, lonely. After the TV shows are over I click through channels on the remote – nothing good to watch. Hmph!

I struggle up off the couch, take my dishes to the kitchen and quickly wash, dry, and put them away.

I head back to the couch, put my reading glasses on, pick up the book I’m reading and am soon lost in a story of days gone by.

My eyes drift shut… the bonging of the Grandfather clock wakes me. My glasses are askew in my face. I yank them off and toss them aside as I count the bongs. It happened again. Midnight. I head to the bathroom, go through my nightly ritual and crawl between cool sheets. Sleep claims me. I know nothing until morning when the birds wake me.

I’m just finished washing my breakfast dishes when a knock sounds on my kitchen door. Now who would be coming to that door? Better not be one of my kids begging for something. Hmph!

I peek out the window of the door and don’t see anyone. Hmmm, that’s strange. I slowly open the door. It’s one of them neighbor kids! Hmph! What could she want? Nothing good can come of this, I tell you.

“Whaddayou want?” I mutter.

“Hi!” says the little urchin in a too-cheery voice. “I’m your new neighbor and my mama said I could bring you some chocolate chip cookies she baked last night, and some daffodils from our yard. I was so happy when I found out we have daffodils! They are my favorite flowers in the whole world, and I just love picking them and taking them around to people.” She pauses, thrusting her grubby hand out to me, with the flowers hanging limp. What did she do, wave them around in the air on her way over here, planning what she would say? Never have I heard anyone talk so fast. Hmph!

“I really don’t want your flowers,” I start to say, but then see the tears glisten in her blue eyes… why she’s nothing but a blond, blue-eyed little pixie.

My mind goes back to the years when my little girl used to pick flowers for me from our yard… oh her delight when she would hand them to me… so pleased with herself that she could make her mama smile like that.

My heart melts right there, practically oozing out on the floor. Hmph! indeed… I think I need to change my attitude.

I smile. How long has it been since I smiled? My face feels strange, but at the same time, a freedom I haven’t felt in some time washes over me. I reach out to take the cookies and daffodils. The bright yellow is cheery, even if the flowers are limp. And how long has it been since I’ve had a chocolate chip cookie? My mouth waters at the thought.

“Thank you for coming over… what’s your name?”

“Daffy – it’s short for Daffodil! Isn’t that funny? That’s why daffodils are my favorite flowers! I was born when they were blooming and so mama and daddy decided that was the perfect name for me.” Her grin rivals the sun.

“I think that’s lovely. Won’t you come in? I have some lemonade in the freezer I could make. Would you like that?”

“Oh yes!”

I’ve made a new friend. There will be far less hmphs from me in the days to come, I tell you.

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This article has been read 375 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/11/10
Leave it to a child to melt the heart of a cranky neighbor. Nice flow to the story and am glad it had a happy ending.
Joan Campbell03/14/10
A very sweet story. You created a very good "grouchy" voice for your MC - fitted the theme perfectly.
AnneRene' Capp03/15/10
Oh, I just love this. Lonliness is such a void in anyone's life. Harsh exterior's are always hiding a hurting soul and I loved how you used the precious innocence and love of a child to melt away our little ladies "Hmph's".

Also, really liked the yellow curtain bouncing back in disgust too! :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/16/10
This story has the makings of a winner...I hope it is. I loved it.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/16/10
Quite a story rolled up here! Daffy was precious and I'm glad your MC came around.
Judy Wood03/16/10
I like the change in your character from the grouchy neighbor to a sweet lady. Children sure do melt us. I like your use of Hmph.
Lyn Churchyard03/17/10
I could just see your little 'Daffy', standing at the door with her bright eyes and smile. You kept me reading from start to finish. Great descriptive line--My heart melts right there, practically oozing out on the floor. Well done.
Beth LaBuff 03/17/10
Cute and endearing. What a fun story... but now I'm wanting a chocolate chip cookie. :)
Ruth Stromquist03/19/10
The way you painted Daffy was especially realistic and endearing. I can tell you have a real heart for kids!