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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)

TITLE: Treasured memories
By Ellen Carr
07/11/12


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1988
It was perfect, a smooth, flat place, no breeze, warm and quiet. Susan rolled out the tartan picnic rug, set the basket in the middle and they sat down, two shiny-eyed little girls and their mother. They had the place to themselves, just them and their basket of goodies.

Unpacking the basket was half the fun. There were paper serviettes, plastic plates and tumblers, a bottle of cordial, then some square and some round containers, all with mysterious contents.

'Square ones first', instructed Susan. The girls' small hands helped open the square ones to reveal little vegemite sandwiches and and peanut butter ones too. There were carrot sticks, cheese cubes and sultanas, a veritable feast. Susan insisted that they leave the round containers unopened, for later. 'For a surprise,' she said.

Sitting cross-legged, serviettes on their laps, they tucked in and the food soon disappeared. Then it was time. The containers of secrets were opened to reveal the glorious second course of meringue mice and pink-iced cup cakes. The little girls' faces lit up and soon all that remained were sticky fingers and mouths, and a few left-over crumbs.

Susan wiped their hands and faces. Now for a relaxing rest on the rug. She pushed the basket off the rug and they lay down side by side, mother and her two little girls. It was the perfect end to a perfect picnic.

2008
'Do you remember those picnics on our lounge room floor?' asked Mandy as the family sat around the dinner table. The extended family were all together for once, not an easy feat these days with their homes so far apart. 'They were wonderful, even though we were just sitting on a rug on the floor, in our own house!'

'Oh I loved those picnics,' said her sister Janelle, smiling as she remembered. 'It was pouring with rain and blowing a gale outside but we had a fabulous picnic, warm and snug inside. And I loved the picnics in the back yard and down at the local park. Mum, you did such fun things with us back then. They're wonderful memories.'

Susan smiled as she heard her grown-up children cherishing those memories. She did too. They conjured up warm feelings of cosy, family comfort. They were special memories indeed.

'I love those memories too,' she told her daughters. 'They bring a smile to my face and sometimes a tear to my eye.'

Just then little grandson,Tom, spilt his milk. Janelle rushed to clean up the mess and the conversation moved on to other things. But later that evening Susan remembered what her daughters had said. She knew those memories were precious and she thought about how important their shared memories were.

2012
Alone, in her lounge-room, Susan was praying about what to say in the communion service next Sunday. Her thoughts drifted back to the lounge-room picnics and she smiled. Oh yes, she knew what to say. She would talk about the lounge-room picnics and those memories and then say:

'When things are tough or things aren't turning out the way we hoped they would, our special family memories become very precious. When homesickness strikes, those memories can bring us joy. And sometimes it is just a comfort to look back and enjoy the memories.

Our Lord knows that we need reminders of good things, and of the greatest thing he has done for us. He knows we need prompts to turn our minds to him and his fatherly love.

It was almost a picnic, the simple feast he set up for us to remember and celebrate his death and resurrection. The simple bread and wine take our hearts back to his rich love and forgiveness. Just as memories take us back to the warmth of shared family fun, the simple communion meal keeps us remembering God's grace to us.

Be sure to treasure your family memories and, even more, treasure God's grace as we remember it in his special picnic, our communion meal.'


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This article has been read 242 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/12/12
This is a charming story. You covered quite a bit with the word limit, yet it didn't feel rushed at all.

The only suggestions I might make are the same things I noticed in my own story this week.(unfortunately I noticed them after I hit submit!) First, be careful about repeating words in such a short story. Memories is one word I noticed, another is picnics. I think you'll be surprised at how many times you used them.

The other thing is when the same person is talking and you begin a new paragraph, make sure you put a quotation mark at the beginning of each one. Of course, you don't put the end quote until the person is finished speaking. (And in case someone mentions it a single quotation mark like this ' is correct as long as you're consistent, which you were.)

I loved the British style and words you used. I enjoy learning different phrases but it also added a quaint bit of charm to the story for me.

I thought you did a great job of writing on topic and the idea of communion as God's special picnic with us is a lovely idea.

Your message of cherishing those little moments that help carve out who we become later in life is a wonderful message. Sometimes it's much easier to remember the bad times but your reflection of the good times left me with a warm and safe feeling.
CD Swanson 07/13/12
A lesson to be learned by all. Good recounting, and nice job with how you journaled this piece. Great message in finding "the good times" and recognizing it before it's gone by. Good job.

Thanks. God bless~
Noel Mitaxa 07/15/12
Warm and reflective as well as inspiring - and does the vegemite sandwich indicate another anonymous Aussie contributor?
Leola Ogle 07/16/12
I admit I'm an American unfamiliar with some terms used in this but I absolutely loved it because of that! I'm such a softie for family memories so this entry delighted me. Especially that it had a mommy (Mum) and little girls. And a picnic in the house sounds like a wonderful way to create memories. Loved this! God bless!
Genia Gilbert07/16/12
I love your memories. The very simple things with heart are the ones we treasure longest. This was very enjoyable.
Hiram Claudio07/18/12
This was special! I truly enjoyed the way you painted the setting of the mom and her little girls, then later them all around a table as adults reminiscing, and then again her by herself drawing strength and inspiration from those memories.

To then tie it to how our own celebrations of the Lord's table need to inspire memories of Him in us ... that was just brillant. Wonderful job here!