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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Banquet - deadline 8-16-12 10 am NY time (08/09/12)

TITLE: The Best Time
By Janice Cartwright


I was in there when Dad asked Mom to take charge of the New Member banquet. He told her since nobody volunteered it looked like she was elected. Mom said Dad shouldíve told her a long time ago a month wasnít enough. Also pastorsí families lived in glass houses.

But Dad said, ďNow Elise. Donít worry, the Lord is in control.Ē Momís face turned red, almost as red as her hair. But she didnít say anything. I started to ask about living in a glass house. But then I decided now wouldnít be a good time. Finally Mom said okay.

After that things werenít easy around our house for a while. Our church was in the old Droemerís store so we had to have the banquet at our place. Our house wasnít very big either. But we did have a dining room and a table with two leaves. It used to be Grandmaís.

Dad said Mom could use paper plates for the banquet. It would save a lot of work. Mom got mad again I could tell, but Dad smiled and said, ďDo what you think best, Elise.Ē

The next day was Saturday and Mom got us all up real early. She told me and my brother she was putting us on the business end of a rake. I knew what that meant. Then she put my oldest sister, Janine, in charge of my baby brother, John. Stacy had to vacuum and Deniseís job was to scrub bathrooms.

Dad came home around noon. Mom was pulling stuff out of closets. He said she didnít need to go to all that trouble. I couldnít hear what Mom said but pretty soon Dad left in the car and after about an hour he came back with lots of paint. He started in the kitchen and I was pretty amazed how much he got done.

Sunday we went to church like always. I tried to concentrate on Dadís sermon but those glass houses kept popping in my head.

The next week Mom had jobs for everybody as soon as we got home from school. The house started to look real nice. Mom waxed the floors and washed and ironed all the curtains. We ate a lots of sandwiches because Dad was in charge of meals. We cut the yard and he trimmed hedges. Mom didnít seem quite so grouchy.

The banquet was getting real close. Mom called on the phone a lot asking ladies to bring stuff. One day I came home her eyes were all puffy. The widow Moses died and two of the Archer kids were real sick. Dad went to the hospital to visit Mr. Palmer with pneumonia. Friday night John got a fever and threw up. I couldnít hardly hear Mom and Dad after lights out talking. Next morning we all prayed if we should call off the banquet. But the Lord told Dad not to.

To save time Mom laid the table Saturday night. The blue and white dishes and crystal goblins looked real good with Momís white tablecloth and napkins. Janine missed a few spots on the silver but Mom didnít notice. John didnít throw up anymore. When I went to bed Mom was still in the kitchen. Her rolls smelled so good I didnít think I could wait.

Sunday Mom left early from church. So Dad and us walked, but it was only three blocks. We got there just in time before people started coming. Women were bringing so much food in Mom had a hard time fitting everything on the table. Mrs. Watts said Momís sinner peace looked interesting.

Finally Dad lit the candles and everybody bowed their heads. First he praised God for all His benefits. Then he thanked Him for such a good wife and all of us. He thanked Him for the whole church, which was about twenty-five names. Then he thanked him for new additions to our church family. He said their names too.

I thought he was finished but he still needed to thank Him we didnít put off the banquet. The widow Moses was rejoicing in heaven because Stan and Andy her nephews got baptized. Angels in heaven were celebrating right now too and so should we. Everybody said amen after Dad did. When I looked up Mom was smiling. Maybe now would be good to ask about glass houses. Mom didnít even pinch that hard at church. I sure was glad we could eat.

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This article has been read 273 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/16/12
I enjoyed this well written entry. I especially loved how the "ending came together so well." Nicely done. God bless~
Genia Gilbert08/18/12
This is an enjoyable entry. I loved it. Great writing. I expecially liked the "sinner Peace".
Deborah Engle 08/19/12
This was a clever story. I enjoyed the humor that comes from a child's perspective.
Leola Ogle 08/20/12
Loved reading this story from a child's point of view. Like Genia, I loved the sinner peace. So cute. Good job. God bless!
Hiram Claudio08/21/12
A wonderful and delightful perspective, one that resonated with me ... made me wonder how my own kids saw things. Well written ... great job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/22/12
I really enjoyed this story. It made me smile, chuckle and tear up. You put me through the gambit of emotions and what a delightful trip it was!

I think with a bit more showing and less telling this story could be polished up and would be perfect fro a tween magazine. For example this sentence is telling: Mom didnít seem quite so grouchy.
By adding some details you can show the reader. Like this: Later on, I noticed Mom humming when she thought she was alone. Soon she even started to smile as she scrubbed the floors.
Those might not be the exact details you want but I hope it helps show you what I mean. If you would like some more help, feel free to PM me.

You definitely covered the topic. Having read most of the stories this week, I think you handled this in a fresh and fun way. I loved the voice of an MC--childlike and innocent but wise as only a young one can be! You had me falling in love with the MC and her observations. So many worry and fuss over the wrong things. In the end, you showed that empathy and love is far more important than freshly painted rooms (though having a huge dinner like that is a great way to get the house cleaned! :))