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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: Her Dawn's Early Light
By Linda Germain


Something amazing happened to Francis Suzanna Drawdel, my best friend since first grade. If you knew Franny Sue, you’d understand what a monumental shift this was for her--and a real eye-opener for all of us.

I’m married and already have my quiver full. She always claimed she couldn’t find Mister Right…or even Mister Almost Right. More than one nice fellow showed romantic interest in her but none met every requirement on her strict check-list.

It’s my opinion that when she prayed about her purpose in life, God did intervene. Not that he meant to scare her for no reason, but He used the mess she brought on herself.

She asked me to go with her to update her passport and get some weird inoculations so she could embark on yet another sappy cruise to some place extolled as paradise.

“Glory Beth,” she cooed in that sugar voice she always used when she was intent on somebody playing Ethel to her Lucy, “please, come with me. You know I’m scared of needles. After all, you were a nurse and can explain things to me.”

“Explain things?”

I was trying to bake cupcakes for my youngest son’s soccer team, finish starfish costumes for the twins’ school play, and clean out the fridge before my mother-in-law showed up for her semi-annual visit and health inspection.

“What’s to explain, Franny? You roll up your sleeve, you get a shot, and you go home.”

Just as I dumped the last fuzzy looking leftover, the phone rang again. It was shot-girl, wailing like a siren.

“Pick up, Glory Beth, I know you’re there. Something dreadful has happened.”

I lumbered over, being several months along with number five, and answered.

“Calm down, Franny. What’s wrong?”

She wasn’t making any sense. I told her to come by and I’d have some tea ready. When she burst in the back door I could see this was not her usual drama-queen exhibition.

“Why, Franny Sue, what in the world?”

She couldn’t speak until she took a few gulps of the hot brew from one of my old Mother’s Day presents…a silly chipped mug that declared: I’m cuter than bug spit.

I thought she said she was crying…which I could plainly see…but what she really said was, “I’m dying.”

I told her to take a deep breath and talk to me like a grown-up. She blew her nose and began.

“My regular doctor wasn’t there. A strange guy was filling in for him. I couldn’t understand why he kept calling me Miz Prattle.”

Franny can zip down a bunny trail faster than a real rabbit with Farmer McGregor in hot pursuit.

“Stop,” I instructed in my best mother voice, “WHY are you supposedly dying?”

“He called me at home and said there could be something wrong with that vaccination serum and I might have only 24-hours to live.”

“Franny,” I yelled, as I grabbed my car keys and her arm, “that doesn’t even compute. We’re going right back.”

She talked non-stop the whole way.

“I’ve never made a will. Who’ll take Elvis (her parrot)? My blue suit’s in the cleaner’s. I need a haircut. I haven’t done my income taxes. The plumber is coming on Tuesday. What’ll I tell Momma?”

I’d had enough.

“Listen to me, Francis Suzanna Drawdel, you are NOT dying. I’m a nurse and I know the signs.”

After we successfully challenged Dr. Temporary and insisted on an official incident report, Franny made a very profound observation.

“I ought to be ashamed.”

I kept my mouth shut. She was on a roll.

“In the end, it’s our eternal spirits that matter. If I had only 24-hours to live I would be sure I had confessed my sins and was forgiven by the Lord, and by anyone I had hurt. Honestly, Glory Beth… everything else is just stuff. It’s NOTHING.”

I had never heard this kind of raw insight from her before. I guess both of us experienced an epiphany.

After her near no-death experience, she gave serious witness to the Gospel Truth for a short time. In the end though, God really did give her the unexpected call …and without a 24-hour notice.

It was a sudden thing. One second she was walking across the floor and the next she had stepped through the veil into Heaven.

She didn’t marry, but The REAL Mister Right was beside her. One thing’s for sure, she certainly learned what a difference one day can make. We all did. Thank God.

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This article has been read 501 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 02/07/11
A delightful read with a good message. Very enjoyable.
Beth LaBuff 02/08/11
This is quite touching, with humor interspersed and then your ending caught me by surprise. What a great message this contains.
Bonnie Bowden 02/10/11
I really liked the characters. The not so happily-ever-after ending also took me by surprise.
I think your ending was truer to real life tho.

The message to live each day like it is your last is a needed reminder.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/10/11
Congratulations for placing 13th in Masters and 19th overall!