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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)

TITLE: The Birthday Cards
By Genia Gilbert


Maggie reached deep into the mailbox, being sure not to miss anything. It was, after all, her birthday.

Once inside, she sat down with the mail, putting bills and catalogues back for tomorrow. Next, she opened the stack of lovely cards, but kept scanning the return addresses for those special ones. Spotting them, she laid them to one side, saving the best for last.

Finally, holding those cards, she paused. It was like a small yearly ceremony. She let the memories flow.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I can’t do this! It isn’t fair,” she’d heard Meg say.

Maggie and her twin sister Megan had been excited the summer before high school. They loved their small town life and friends in rural Alabama. When Dad received a mandatory job transfer to Baltimore, the Peterson family was all shaken. Perhaps Megan, who was extremely emotional, was most distressed. Yet, their family of five, including eight-year-old Evan, found themselves relocated in a few short weeks.

Their new house was nice, and they grew closer during the adjustment time. They found a church about the same size as their old one. It seemed very special, with nice people and a sweet atmosphere.

Maggie’s and Meg’s overwhelming problem came at school.

Bridgestone High was enormous, with several freshmen classes. Most of the kids had grown up together and were long-time acquaintances and friends. Maggie and Meg felt very left-out, hoping at least, to stay together. Yet, they were assigned to separate classes in most periods.

“Well, here come the Southern belles.” Peggy Burch remarked.

Peggy and her friend, Renee Ward were among the most popular girls in every circle she and Meg encountered. They wore expensive jeans and tight-fitting tops, and gathered a crowd of girls – and boys - everywhere they went. They took an instant dislike to the newcomers, the Peterson twins, making snide remarks about their simpler clothes and southern accents. Hearing about their church attendance, they tagged them as “goodie-goodies.” They had a lot of influence, and seemed bent on making life miserable for them.

For weeks, Maggie and Megan arrived home in tears. Mom and Dad got increasingly concerned, as Megan was actually becoming ill under the stress.

One Sunday morning, Mrs. Corbin, their new Sunday School teacher, asked the kids if they had any needs to share and pray about. Megan suddenly blurted out their terrible problem and began to sob. Not only did Mrs. Corbin pray, but so did a couple of the kids. Maggie and Megan were touched.

After class, one of the girls approached them. Tall and blond, she walked with confidence.

“My name is Katie,” she’d said, matter-of-factly. "I am in some of your classes at school. I’m a Christian, and proud of it. I didn’t realize Peggy and Renee were giving you such a hard time. Please forgive me for not being a better friend.”

“Listen up, now. Mrs. Corbin taught us a lesson about how we’re stronger if we stick together in trouble. Seems like it fits your problem. It’s time to try it,” she stated.

They stood puzzled as Katie searched in her pink Bible.

“Here it is.” She read: “ ’And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ ” *

“Get it? Girls, if there’s two of you, it’s better than being alone, but if there’s three, well, cool! That’s even better.” She moved between them and joined hands, gripping hard.

The next days and weeks brought several changes. Peggy and Renee were shaken when Katie kept popping up everywhere they gathered. Katie brushed past them in a firm but friendly way, introducing the twins to the other kids. The jokes about their clothes, as well as the cruel girls’ followers, started to dwindle. Their eye-rolling remarks about their accent got boring as the other kids got used to it. Best of all, Megan and Maggie were no longer alone. They had a friend, and newfound strength.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Returning to the present, Maggie opened the two special cards. From her precious Meg was the usual chatty note and gift card, with her bookmark tucked in. As expected, Katie’s card also held a bookmark. Laid side by side, these two dainty creations, though different in colors and fabrics, were each carefully braided into a perfect threefold cord.

Maggie would add them to her collection of the last thirty years. For now, she just smiled.

* Ecclesiastes 4:12 KJV

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This article has been read 285 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/19/12
This is a great story. I could see the middle part when the girls were teen as a wonderful part of a YA novel. If you expanded on it and showed how the girls struggled it would be an outstanding book for teens.

I think this week many writers will reference this verse. I liked how you illustrated the point using friendship. I think that is a fresh take on the topic.
C D Swanson 04/20/12
Nicely done...this was a creative take on the subject. I enjoyed the dialogue and the interaction of the characters. Thank you.

God bless~
Hiram Claudio04/20/12
What a totally "feel good" story! You really felt for the twins as they moved with the stress and the cruel treatment. The way you wove the topic into a triune friendship that, as the end of the story showed, would up lasting a lifetime was brilliant. Great work here!
Leola Ogle 04/20/12
A delightful story. And a sad reminder of how cruel kids in school can be. I'm so happy that many anti-bullying programs have evolved. This was well written and I also loved the topic used as friendship. God bless!
Dannie Hawley 04/21/12
I loved this article; you really swept me up in the lives of the twins. This would make such a terrific book for kids in just this situation. Think about it. Nice job!
Joe Moreland04/22/12
I keep reading so many excellent stories on this topic this week. I really love this one. The dialogue is excellent and the realism of the twins' feelings as they are picked on is very compelling. Most compelling of all, though, is how three people united and stood up to a bully. Not by fighting back, but by standing together. Reminds me very much of Shadrach, Meshach and Adednego who did the same in Daniel (chapter 3).
Edmond Ng 04/23/12
A nicely written piece and a very pleasant read. I like the characterization and how you illustrate strength with three together. Well done!