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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Don’t Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: Almost a Century
By Leola Ogle


Detached she sits – Mary - nodding, smiling pleasantly, longing for solace

Festivities in her honor, ninety-eight, almost a century

Cake, ice cream, flowers, balloons, banners, gifts, hugs, kisses

Unnecessary she thinks, except the hugs and kisses…like a soft, cool breeze on a hot day

That nourishes the soul and warms the heart

She sighs, smiles at her oldest daughter, the take-charge one

Oh, Debbie, Debbie, you’ve never learned to relax, always bossing

Be more like Cindy, your daughter, beautiful granddaughter

Cindy, so gentle and compassionate, visiting each week in the home

Not my home, the home, Mary calls it

Debbie says “Mama, quit looking back so much, stop dwelling on the past”

Why? Mary wonders…memories are all she has - husband, two daughters, family, friends gone

Debbie says it often, “Live for today” - like a dull mantra, a broken record

Ah, record albums of Mary and her four daughters singing gospel so many years ago

Gathering dust on a shelf in her tiny room, from a by-gone era no one seems to care about

“Can I play these sometime?” Mary asked, arriving at the home years ago

“Honey, no one has a phonograph anymore,” the nurse pats her shoulder, dismissing the request

Only Cindy seems to care, “Tell me about them, Grandma” lovingly running her fingers

Over the album cover – grandma, grandpa, mom and three aunts

Bouffant hairdos, long wild print dresses, smiling, holding guitars, accordion

Songs from another era, songs sung at revivals lasting days, weeks

And God showed up in marvelous, unconventional ways

Some called them hick, hillbilly, holy-roller, fanatic

Remembering those days in Pentecostal movements, Mary hums and taps a foot

Cindy understands the glow in her grandma’s eyes

Thin, blue veined fingers brushing at tears fluttering on naked lashes

Frail, trembling hands lovingly touching each face before lingering over Fred’s face

She closes her eyes, songs playing in her ears, hands and fingers on an invisible accordion

Debbie, Marcy, Judy, Betty – voices harmonizing, guitars twanging, sweet Fred playing the piano

Judy and Marcy gone, her beautiful daughters, Fred gone, oh, how she misses them

“Don’t look back, Mama! It makes you cry.” Debbie says, bossy and unsympathetic, meaning well

Ninety eight, almost a century, memories like an ache in her bosom that visits in night stillness

Mary opens her gifts, graciously thanking each giver

They love her, she’s loved, she knows that and it warms her cold, fragile bones

“Now my gift, Grandma,” Cindy whispers, lips tenderly kissing each cheek

She lifts it, grinning, proud of her find, days spent searching for the grandma she loves

“A phonograph to play your albums. And I copied and framed the album covers for your walls.”

Gently, Cindy slides a black orb from its thin cardboard holder, laying it on the turntable

Turning knob to 33 1/3 rpm, lifting arm, gently placing needle on the just the right groove

It was bliss, beautiful to Mary’s ears, eyes closed, picturing her beloved Fred, Marcy, Judy

Longing for the day she’d join them in heaven, sad to leave the others behind

Almost a century is long enough

*Fiction based on memories

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 438 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catherine Maher04/26/12
How sweet and touching this is to read. When I got to the gift she gave her Grandma I cried. So loving and caring and sweet. Wow! So emotional. You did a wonderful job with this. thank you
Genia Gilbert04/27/12
I would like to see a few periods to break this up just a little. Otherwise, I think it is wonderful! Good writing and sweet memories. Thanks for sharing.
Hiram Claudio04/27/12
This was wonderful ... and such a creative take on the topic too. I really enjoyed the warm feeling it gave as you drew the reader in right from the beginning. The part about Cindy's gift, and overall demeanor, were a very well crafted contrast to her unfeeling daughter Debbie.

Very well done!
C D Swanson 04/27/12
Clever entry and well written piece. It was an overall good story that made my heart smile. God Bless~~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
This free verse rendition is positively lovely. You did a great job of pulling in the topic. I love the idea of no periods signifying no end and when Jesus lives in our heart we can rejoice because there are no periods. Amen!
annie keys05/03/12
Wonderful! Congratulations!
Edmond Ng 05/03/12
Congratulations on Highly Commended!
Kathy Stevens05/03/12
Ah, a beautiful, flowing memory. We can look back to see how far we've come, and they can be sweet memories, but I like to focus on the future. It's more exciting. Grandma has a wonderful "forward" to look for.

Contratulations on HC.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
Congratulations on your HC and for placing 17th overall!