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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: I Just Followed My Nose
By Kate Oliver Webb


“Hey, Zena, I think I’ve got somethin’ for ya.” It was Jan, our real estate agent.

I sighed. We’d had this conversation so many times in the last six months, I didn’t welcome this call. Adam and I had been looking for a fixer-upper, something we could not only sink a bit of money into, but invest quite a bit of ourselves in as well. We’d given up hope that there was anything in our area, in our price range, that had what we called our “vision.”

“Tell me,” I said. My voice probably reflected my frustration, because she made some tut-tut noises.

“Honestly, Zee, I don’t want to tell you anything about it until you actually see it for yourself. You and Adam available this afternoon?”

“Not for a wild-goose chase, we aren’t.”

“Listen, I’m so sorry. I get it, I really do. But trust me, this time I think I’ve found the winner. Please, Zena. Get Adam on the phone, see if he can get away. I’ll pick you up, then we’ll swing by and pick him up.”

“Why don’t I call and have him meet us there?”

“Nah, Zee, I’d like to take you both there together. I don’t mean to sound so secretive, but it really is a different kind of thing, and I want it to kinda hit you both at the same time. Okay?”

I agreed to try to talk Adam into Jan’s plan; if he was feeling as put-out as I was by Jan’s sales pitch on this one, he’d probably put on his gruff, “I’m much too busy for this sort of thing” voice, and refuse.

Adam surprised me all to pieces (he does that sometimes) by happily agreeing, and said he’d see me and Jan at 3. He’d finish up his work for the day, and we’d go see Jan’s new jewel of an opportunity and when she dropped us off at home after that, we’d go have some dinner, kinda make an outing of it. That kind of talk took the testy right out of me.

I prayed the whole time I waited for Jan to pick me up. Of course I’d been praying that God would lead us to the perfect place—he knew the desires of our hearts better than we did—but what I focused my prayer on that day was that I would be willing to see the possibilities, to know that this was God’s leading.

Jan drove us maybe 8 miles or so out of downtown, into some beautiful countryside. Then there was a smattering of nice family homes, a little grocery store next to an old-fashioned gas station: a little community I didn’t even know was out here.

We turned down a little lane that Jan had to have pre-knowledge of, hidden as it was by tall trees and beautiful shrubbery. Then Jan stopped in front of a large old ornate home. I didn’t see a “For Sale” sign, and the home didn’t look much like a “fixer-upper.”

“This it?”

“No,” Jan grinned at me, “it’s next door.”

We got out and walked toward a fairly large, quite old, and very beautiful country church. It was so very quiet, none of us wanted to break the stillness of that beautiful scene.

Jan led us, gawking, up the porch steps and through beautiful double doors, into a roomy foyer.

The first thing I noticed was the scent in the air. Air-freshener? I wondered. To counteract the mold and dead mice and all that?

Jan noticed me sniffing the air and said, “Wonderful, isn’t it?”

“Yeah; what is it?”

“I really don’t know,” Jan answered looking bemused. “It’s been there every time I’ve opened the door, but I haven’t found the source. Actually kinda weird, huh?”

The precious scent stayed with me as we did the complete tour. It was a magnificent place, and Adam and I immediately saw possibilities of actually making it into a beautiful home. And the fact that it met all our financial criteria, including a budget to do necessary remodeling, thrilled me to my toes.

It occurred to me, then, in this sanctuary whose walls had absorbed generations of praise and worship, words and melodies rising as a sweet aroma before the throne of God, that this would be a home dedicated to continuing that tradition.

I took Adam’s hand, my face wet with tears, our eyes meeting.

“We’ll take it,” we said together, and I gave it another long sniff.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 08/05/10
Oh my, I LOVE this! (If this isn't a winner I'll be mighty surprised.) Growing up a preacher's kid, I've long cherished those lovely old country churches, and even thought how wonderful it would be to own one to turn into a combination home and wayside prayer chapel. The sweetest touch of all was the fragrance of Jesus that greeted your home-buyers!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/05/10
This is a lovely story. I was pulled right in by your characters.
Lollie Hofer08/10/10
Absolutely a true story...my husband and I considered buying an old church one time to fix up as a home. So I was delighted to find that's where they ended up as well. Great story telling, likable characters and strong dialogue. Well done in all aspect of this story.
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/10/10
Beautiful story! I love the mysterious scent, too.
Caitlyn Meissner08/10/10
What a great story! :) I'm glad your characters found just the home they were looking for. And I like how you showed us what the scent was through Zena's thoughts. Good job!
Ruth Brown08/11/10
So sweet.It was a wonderful story for smell. Well done. Blessings, Ruth