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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Accent (02/21/13)

TITLE: Accent of the Clouds
By Loren T. Lowery


One dark and stormy night, Peter came into is daughter’s bedroom to find her wide awake. A flash of lightening briefly whitened the room and thunder soon followed, rattling and shaking the walls and windows. “Cindy?” He asked. “You okay?”

“Huh huh. Just can’t sleep.”

He came to sit upon her bed, adjusting the blankets around her. “Storms can be kind of scary, can’t they?”

She nodded. “Especially the thunder.”

“You know what my dad once told me about thunder? He said it was God’s potato wagon just got dumped over and all that crashing and rumbling was nothing but potatoes rolling all over the place.”

“Did you believe him?”

“For a while, but then I was scared to go outside anytime it rained because I might get hit on the head by a potato.” Cindy giggled. “You think that’s funny, don’t you?”


“Well, it wasn’t and thinking back I think Mom put him up to it just to keep me from splashing in a lot of lovely mud puddles.”

She giggled again. “Grandma wouldn’t do that.”

“Maybe. But let me tell you the real story about thunder.” He got up and went to the window, peering out. “Did you know clouds can talk?”

“No they can’t?”

“Oh but they can. If you listen carefully, you’ll see it’s kind of like a brogue in the wind. Kind of gruff, for sure. But then who wouldn’t be with all that lightening going on at all sorts of crazy times.”

“Sounds like Jasper whenever Sissy gets too near his food bowl while he’s eating.”

“Exactly. He’s just standing up for himself. Clouds like to sleep, too, you know; but how can they with the weather flipping the light switch on and off all the time. So, they speak up in a grumbling and a bit loud accent to tell the weather to back off.”

Lightening flashed, gilding the clouds beyond the window. Thunder soon followed. He came back to sit next to her on the bed. “Besides, I think clouds are a bit protective of us, too. Just look how they shelter us from the sun and provide rain. So, I’m thinking their being so noisy isn’t so bad, after all.”

“And they’re pretty, too.” Her face brightened.

A shadow darkened the opened doorway leading into the lit hallway. Celeste, Peter’s wife, stood there leaning against the door frame. He looked up at her and smiled. “Your mother loves the clouds, too. You and she can find the most fanciful creatures in them.”

“I know, once we found a whole circus parade of them - all in white, pink, yellow and periwinkle.”


“Mom says it’s kind of a bluey, purpley color."

“Oh, I see.”

Cindy sighed. “Mr. Pringle, my science teacher, says thunder is caused by lightening super-heating the air and turning it to plasma which explodes loudly.”

“Well that doesn’t show much imagination now does it? Besides what’s Mr. Pringle know anyway, just because he’s a scientist?” She giggled. “Now come on, Pumpkin time for those pretty periwinkle eyes of yours to close and go to sleep. No more worry about storms and thunder. It may not be the most polite way to tell the weather to chill out, but thunder’s just doing the best it can.” He kissed her on the forehead and rose to leave.


“Yes, Pumpkin?”

“I love you.”

He took his wife’s hand and turned back to her. “And I love you. More than words could ever say. Your mom’s here, too, to tuck you in.”

“Mom,” Cindy said excitedly. Celeste came in and sat beside her. “Did you know clouds can talk?”

“So, I’ve been hearing. You’ll have to tell me all about tomorrow at breakfast. But for now it’s time for this little princess to go to sleep.” She leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. “I love you and sweet dreams, Sweetie.”

“I love you, too, Mom. And I will tell you all about it tomorrow.” She yawned peacefully, thunder rumbling over her words. She closed her eyes lulled into slumber by the sound of the passing storm.

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Beth LaBuff 02/28/13
When it just so happens that it is "One dark and stormy night" to describe it any other way would surely be an untruth. I'm glad you held firm in speaking the truth. :) You've given us tangible descriptions, I could see the bedroom light up from the lightening and hear the windows rattle, and you've captured a lot of playfulness in the moment. I had to totally smile (and completely agree) that the scientific explanation from Mr. Pringle lacked imagination. :) You've created wonderful personification of the clouds and the wind, with its a gruff brogue (and for good reason), and then not to be outdone, the sleepy, floaty clouds grumbling over the light switch flipping of the lightening and in their own accent, telling the weather to back off. I see pictures in clouds too, and now I will be listening for their accent. :)
C D Swanson 03/02/13
Such a lovely descriptive and well written entry. I enjoyed the entire thing... from start to finish. Authentic dialogue and inspirational as well on many levels.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/02/13
Oh how I love this story. You must pursue turning this into a child's book! I've been terrified of thunder (well really lightening since I realized the thunder can't hurt me) for my whole life. I think we all have heard those stories: God's bowling or He's moving his furniture. I used to tell my kids that it was clouds bumping into each other since that seemed closest to the truth. I guess I should have had a science teacher like Mr. Sprinkle! I love this and do hope you'll make it a picture book. When you do, I want an autographed copy!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/02/13
I got so wrapped up in the story, I totally forgot about the cliché opening! That you managed to make that work, is just another example of the genius behind this!
Ellen Carr 03/02/13
A lovely, imaginative take on thunder and clouds. Like Shann I think this could well be developed into a children's book. Well done!
Cheryl Harrison03/04/13
Your story kept my attention all the way through. You really should adapt this into a children's book. I think it would be well received. Great descriptions and dialogue. Thanks for writing.
Judith Gayle Smith03/04/13
A thunderous resounding echo of applause was heard throughout God's bowling alley for this delightful explanation! I too want an autographed copy of the book you MUST make from this! How delightful a read this is!

Love in and through and because of Jesus . . .
Judith Gayle Smith03/04/13
Poor Mr. Pringle - mayhaps someone should read him this entry to get his facts straight?
Alicia Renkema03/04/13
God's thunder, like a "potato wagon," ... Clouds talking -- "Like a brogue in the wind..." Periwinkle clouds matching periwinkle eyes... I adored this simply charming and very colorful tale about a storm inspiring a bedtime banter between a loving father and his daughter. This story was so inviting, putting the reader right in that bedroom, watching the storm with Cindy and her dad; making one want to gaze outside to see the amazing technicolor show. I hope this takes as EC, it has been my favorite read so far. Blessings on you. The way you write you must have a very amazing family!
Virgil Youngblood 03/04/13
Every parent, I imagine, has been challenged to help their children overcome their fear of stormy nights. This is worth putting in the memory file, to be retrieved by young parents, and grandparents, when needed. Definitely an enjoyable read.
Myrna Noyes03/04/13
God's potato wagon, huh? That's new one for me that I'll have to remember next time we have a thunder storm! :)

This was a sweet, gentle tale; perfect for a bedtime story for kids! I can really see it as a picture book!

My favorite lines were: "Clouds like to sleep, too, you know; but how can they with the weather flipping the light switch on and off all the time. So, they speak up in a grumbling and a bit loud accent to tell the weather to back off.” That made me smile, and I know it would comfort and intrigue a young child, too!

Bonnie Bowden 03/05/13
This would make a lovely children's book or story in a children's magazine. I love how you interject color and images throughout.

I never heard it decribed as falling pototoes before.
Bea Edwards 03/06/13
Your's was a magnificent tale of a parents creativity in love. I adored it from beginning to end and visualized the storm and your characters effortlessly as if I were in the room. Kudos!
Danielle King 03/09/13
Oh, this is so adorable. Your creative, imaginitive writing skills captivate me time and again.

One small point... you've shattered a childhood myth. I was led to believe that thunder was -- only God, moving the furniture around in heaven. How could you!!!