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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)

TITLE: A tale of simplicity.
By Danielle King
05/19/11


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Hubert. That was his name; Uncle Hubert from Cuckoo Brow Lane.

The one distinguishing feature was his silvery grey mane, rampant as tumbleweed and sprouting proudly from nostrils and ears; and sporting its own follicle, each pimply blob that languished in the grubby creases of his neck.

Uncle Hubert didn’t belong to anyone apart from Ethel. There was never mention of family history. He was simply there. Uncle Hubert from Cuckoo Brow Lane; and Ethel!

Each year at Christmastime Ethel would call by the Sunday school. Her tenuous frame could be spotted trundling through the village as she dragged behind a shopping trolley spilling over with gifts, as many as ninety sometimes. Each lovingly wrapped in coloured tinsel paper and bearing the name of a child. Ethel was a tiny woman with a heart full of sunshine, albeit a touch of muck down her fingernails!

Uncle Hubert and Ethel were an oddity, a curious concoction, but seemed to blend well, balancing each other out, equalising to make a whole … somehow!

A Godly man, Pastor Roberts would stand at the front of the Mission Hall on Sundays and murder every hymn while making a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Now being of a windy disposition, Uncle Hubert’s joyful noise was of a different nature and, well … sort of blew the lid off any serious devotion. One evening following the service, Hubert and Ethel had some news to share.

“I’ve got a lump in my breast,” announced Ethel, taking a sip of tea. “It’s cancer!”

Hubert broke the stunned silence with a crunchy ginger snap and a slurp of coffee. Whilst people were working out an appropriate response in light of the nonchalant manner in which the bombshell was delivered, Hubert leapt to his feet and raised his hands,

“Praise the Lord for He is mighty to deliver!” And Ethel dispassionately dunked a custard cream in her tea.

There was much conjecture in the weeks to come. Ethel made it clear that she would not be having treatment.

“I’ve left this matter in the Lord’s hands. If it’s His will to heal me, it will be so. If not, so be it!”

The congregation was divided.

“They’re slow, we need to intercede,” said some.

“But what amazing faith,” said others.

Ethel died three months to the day on the stroke of midnight and Uncle Hubert could be heard sobbing and singing, weeping and praising God until the first blackbird announced the dawning of a new day.

Before long there was renewed activity at the cottage.

Young men, just one or two to begin with, were seen leaving the cottage at odd hours. Youths with long braided hair wearing the apparel of the day, loons and tie - dye vests, strings of beads and open toe sandals.

“Druggies!” Was the unequivocal verdict of the Missioners,” Without question; and taking advantage of his simpleness. We need a meeting!”

So they met! The elders and Hubert, in the vestry, all armed with the Word of God and outnumbering Hubert by 10 to one.

“God’s word says we should be hospitable,” declared Hubert defiantly.

“Hubert, He also gave us common sense, and we’re meant to use it!” The jury was out!

Undeterred, Hubert tucked bible under arm and stomped through the village, stopping only at the store to stock up on groceries for his hungry brood.

They were right of course, those elders. Hubert was fleeced out of every penny he had and most of his furniture too. Yet not once was he heard to castigate the young people.

Many years later, a radio programme was being broadcast. An articulate, influential, middle aged professor was recounting his life of hell on the streets, addicted to LSD. It was in the late 60’s and was an open and honest account of one man’s nightmare existence after dropping out of college, where he studied Psychology and Philosophy, in a futile search for answers to his existence.

He went on to tell of a giant of a man, who combed the city streets at dusk, inviting pavement dwellers into his home for a warm by his fire and a bowl of hot broth. Mesmerized by the simpleton’s profundity of knowledge of the human condition, he hung around in a quest to discover what made him tick.

The simpleton, Uncle Hubert, eventually led that one soul to Christ. That one soul, in turn led many, many more.

Common sense or simple faith? I’ll stick with Uncle Hubert!



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This article has been read 275 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen05/19/11
(for some reason reading this was difficult because the format was spread out way wide ???)

Delightful story of simple faith! What a reward Uncle Hubert had waiting in heaven, far greater than what was pilfered from him.
Not for everyone, but evidently what God had for Hubert!
Donna Haug05/20/11
Simple faith - like that of a child. Yet, effective in touching at least one life for eternity.
Danielle King 05/20/11
AAAAAAAARGH!!!!!! What the heck has happened to my masterpiece??? Thankyou to the above for having the patience to plough through it. I certainly wouldn't have done!
Joe Moreland05/21/11
Your title says it all. Like Uncle Hubert's church-going friends, we so often over-complicate the job. Jesus simplified it for us: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself (paraphrased from Matt. 22:37-39). Uncle Hubert had it right, none of the things he had stolen from him was worth more than the single soul God reached thru his service and certainly not worth more than those that one reached. I know you were being facetious, but "masterpiece" is not too much of a stretch in my mind.
Joanne Sher 05/22/11
I LOVED this piece. Great voice. Great message. Glad i took the time to read it despite the formatting. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/27/11
This is a delightful story and getting through the different format was well worth it. Uncle Hubert is one in a million.

I do think the last line of dots is what stretched it out as I did something similar once too. Maybe you can take the dots out and if that makes a difference post it in the general- This story is too good to risk some might not read it.

Congratulations for ranking 7th in your level and 18th overall.!