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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: Andy's Surprise
By lynn gipson


“Hey Mom!” Andy, my five year old son, raced into the kitchen with what appeared to be a few dollar bills wadded up in his hands.

“What?” I was busy frying chicken, an art which I still have not mastered to this day.

“I counted my money up, and I know what I want to buy Dad for his birthday!”

“I thought you had decided on some socks. You said his smelled funny.” I smiled at my son, who just last week had made the decision that his parents would no longer be called Mommy and Daddy.

“No, no. I changed my mind. I was over at Johnny's house, and I saw the coolest thing! Johnny gave one to his Dad. It's just the coolest, Mom. Will you take me to Lowenberg's?

“Lowenberg's? That's a Men's clothing store. What is this 'coolest' thing? A shirt?”

“You'll have to wait and see. I want you and Dad to be surprised.”

“Well, they have some fancy clothes in that store, and you know Dad doesn't wear fancy clothes.” My casual dressing husband, Rob, refused to wear anything fancier than a sports jacket with an open collar, even to church, weddings, or funerals.

“Well, he'll wear this, I betcha!” His eyes lit up and he did a little tap dance.

I had serious doubts. However, my son was so enthusiastic about this project, I didn't have the heart to say “no.”

“Okay. We'll go to Lowenberg's tomorrow. Now, go wash up and tell Dad dinner will be ready in ten minutes.”

“Yay, yay, yay!” He chanted as he bounced out of the kitchen.

The next morning we were in Lowenberg's. My son got a determined look on his face and asked me to let him find and pay for the gift himself.

“Please Mom, I don't want you to see it. It's so special that I want to keep it a secret until Dad opens it. Please?”

“I am not leaving you in this store alone. I will stand over here and keep an eye on you while you shop.”

“Okay, but don't look at what I buy.”

I watched my son as he went through some items on a table and then some racks, until he found what he was looking for. A big smile came on his face, and I knew his search was over. I tried not to look directly at what he was holding just out of my line of sight, but I couldn't help but glimpse its colors. They were bright blue and yellow. Oh, Rob, I did not see this one coming!

He marched right up to the sales counter and handed his item and money to the saleslady. She complimented him on his exquisite taste and smiled.

“Why, thank you, Ma'am.” My son beamed at her.

“Is this for yourself?”

“No Ma'am, it's for my Dad.”

“Would you like it gift wrapped?"

“Oh, yes Ma'am, please!”

The next day we celebrated Rob's birthday with a barbeque and friends. Presents were piled high on the table, and Rob opened them and responded with the appropriate “oohs,” “ aahs,” and “thank yous.” Andy was squirming with excitement. At last, Rob came to Andy's present, and as he unwrapped it, my son's face had never looked so beautiful to me.

As Rob pulled his gift out of the box a smile broke out on his face that matched his son's. The guests at the barbeque stood agape, as their eyes fell on a bright yellow and blue neck tie, with Daffy Duck plastered in strategic places all over it.

I couldn't help but gasp. My dear husband didn't wear even wear plain ties! He maintained that Jesus didn't wear a tie, and neither would he. I held my breath and waited for Rob's reaction.

“This is the most beautiful tie I have ever seen!” Rob stood up, put the tie around his neck and proceeded to knot it. It looked somewhat funny with his white polo, but he didn't care.

Two weeks later, the three of us went to my niece's wedding, and Rob was a virtual fashion plate in his nicest blue sport coat and Daffy Duck tie. Some family members in attendance frowned upon my free-spirit husband's attire.

Andy was smiling from ear to ear.

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This article has been read 409 times
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Lillian Rhoades 03/08/13
This is SO precious. I couldn't wait to see what Andy had purchased! Loved the natural flow of dialogue.

I don't think you need quotes in "no."

I felt as if I was a fly on the wall, listening and visualizing it all. Well done!
Noel Mitaxa 03/08/13
This is great. I love the energy and the innocence that is so clearly portrayed. The tie reminds me of one a friend of mine wore - that I would love to find, so I could wear it with the same silent pride as he was showing. It was covered with identical cartoon-drawn penguins, and one at the bottom was saying to another, "Have you seen Harry?"
Cheryl Harrison03/08/13
Sounds like a tie my husband would wear. Great flow to your story. It kept my attention all the way through. Loved the ending. Keep writing.
Allen Povenmire 03/09/13
The dad was a good sport and left a lasting memory on his son, no doubt! Good story, well written.
Allen Povenmire 03/09/13
The dad was a good sport and left a lasting memory on his son, no doubt! Good story, well written.
Allen Povenmire 03/09/13
Oops. Itchy iPad finger...
Allison Egley 03/09/13
Oh, this is great. I loved the ending especially.
Vince Martella03/09/13
Very cute. Even though I was pretty sure(generally)what he bought, you still kept me wondering throughout. You captured his childlike wonder so well. And dad was a great sport. Well done.
Alicia Renkema03/09/13
I adored this piece from start to finish! The way you captured your son's anticipation and exuberance over going to the store and purchasing this gift for his dad was priceless. I also loved the way you captured the joy that you felt at watching his joy... And bless his dad's heart, for not breaking his son's heart. I will tell you, I did wonder at what that reaction would be. The ending was the piece de resistance as his dad wore the tie to a a special family wedding and having the last line be him "grinning ear to ear." There is nothing like nor will there ever be anything like see the joy of one's child and getting to share that. Where does that come from? I know it comes from our heavenly Father who feels the same way when we rejoice! Thanks for sharing this delightful piece.
Joseph Veseli03/10/13
This got my eyes all watery! I couldn't help but remember all the gifts my son has gotten me over the years. Now that he's twenty-one, and has a wife, the gifts have changed. But I can still remember the neat little things he thought were too awesome not to give me.

Thanks for the memories!

This is a sweet story that made me forget where I was. I love how the imagery, and dialogue, simply leads us where you want us to go.
Great job!
Danielle King 03/10/13
Aw... so cute. Memories of our kids are priceless. A lovely, well writen story for the topic.
Judith Gayle Smith03/10/13
So delightful! And who can resist a happy child's surprise and a Daffy Duck tie! (I am a Daffy Duck afficienado). Thank you for this joyous piece.
Bea Edwards 03/11/13
I just adored your playful story and the remembered dialogue with your son! I bet you were/are an amazing mom and I would bargain that your joyous attitude was passed on to your son.
Alicia Renkema03/14/13
Lynn, Such a well deserved win that I think left everyone grinning ear to ear right along with Andy. Thanks again so much for sharing this delightful piece and CONGRATULATIONS GIRL!
C D Swanson 03/14/13
Lynn...Congratulations on this beautiful entry. I didn't have a chance to read any this week, up to now.

God bless~
John Huckstep03/14/13
Congratulations Lynn, What a touching story. Love it!
Vince Martella03/14/13
Congratulations, Lynn. Great job!
Cheryl Harrison03/14/13
Congratulations on your Highly Commended. Great job!
Lillian Rhoades 03/14/13
No surprise here! :-)
Alicia Renkema03/16/13
Hey Lynn, Congrats again! They finally got the highest rankings up and you were 20 over all! Sweet!! Your story, along with the lovable Andy are the best. Have a beautiful Sabbath day in the Lord. Blessings to you girl.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/17/13
Congratulations on placing 4th in level three and ranking 20th overall! Happy Dance!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/17/13
I was positive I had commented on this. I remember it and loved it. There's nothing that will make a man wear a Daffy Duck tie like seeing his son's proud face!