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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)

TITLE: As A Tack
By Jack Taylor


As a Tack

He could sell a sunset to a blind man. Three times over. And that was on Mondays at midnight.

She could rope the horns of a charging steer before it had cleared the gate by twice its length. Blindfolded. One hand tied behind her back. Sitting backwards in the saddle.

And that’s the way Ginger-Lee preferred to remember them. And the way she preferred everyone else to remember them as well.

“Mama could clover-leaf those metal barrels so fast that by the time the judges got the flags down to show she was done she’d gone and done it again. Tweren’t no horse faster than Rusty and mama would let him run.”

“You swearin’ this on the good book?”

“Why would I be stretchin’ truth about our own ma? She gave birth to us on this kitchen floor without no doctor or midwife in a hundred miles. Hardly stopped sweeping and doing dishes to give ya birth and scrub you up.”

“Tell us about pa again.”

“Sharp as a tack that’s been filed to a pin prick.”

The oldest of the three orphan boys perched on the rickety porch snorted. “I thought you told us he was sharp as Lancelot’s dagger before it took down the fiercest dragon.”
“So he was.”

The oldest stood to his feet and stretched as he scanned the dusty hillsides all around. “If he was so sharp why did he have to get hisself killed and take mama with him?”

Ginger slid off the porch swing and rested her hip against the chipped white railing. She crossed her arms and stared into the eyes of the challenger as if she was a cobra ready to strike. “James-Ellis, you’re not even ten. You hardly knew them. I been raising you since I was fourteen and everything daddy said was true. God ain’t failed us yet.”

“Then how come I’m hungry?”

“Cause it ain’t dinner time yet.”

“But there ain’t nothing to make dinner with.”

“Just wait!”

“Ahhh Ginger. You’re not even sixteen and we’re getting too old for stories.”

“What did I tell you daddy said to do when we wuz in trouble? James- Ellis, tell me.”






“That’s right. Daddy preached it every week right here. ‘God is our refuge and strength. An ever present help in time of trouble’.” 1

“I think my tummy is in a time of trouble. I can hear it prayin’.”

“Then look for the dust.”

“I think I see it.”

“Where you lookin’ Gordon-Harvey?”

“Next to the barn. Before you get to the chicken coop.”

“See! Probably ham and peas and spuds. Maybe it’s grandma Hedley.”

“Ginger. You know we ain’t had nuthin’ but stolen eggs and scraps from that farm boy Petey. No one even knows we’re alive. We should have run to town when Petey told us they died.”

“Daddy told us if he ever didn’t come home to wait. God was watchin’ over us and he would send someone to take care of us.”

“You don’t suppose that all we get is Petey, do you?”

“Now, how sharp was daddy?”

“Sharp as a tack that’s been filed to a pin prick.”

“Right! So wait!”

“Maybe it’s the orphanage police.”

“Neil-Simon. Daddy wouldn’t send the orphanage police.”

“Maybe Petey might.”

“Hush. Just keep prayin’.”

The ragged quartet of dust stained orphans watched as the dust cloud grew. Ginger was on her feet as an old black Ford pick-up chugged over and shuttered to a stop.

The tall young man shaded his eyes from the glaring light and quick-stepped his way to the wide-eyed youngsters. “Well I’ll be. Ellie-Mae, it’s our dream come true. Bring the hampers. They’re starving.”

Ginger took a protective step forward. “Who are you?”

“We’re your new parents.”

“What do you mean?”

“While your daddy was dying in that wreck he told Petey to find you a new family. We’ve been praying for years that God would give us four children and we thought our dreams had died. Then Petey comes by and says your kids are waiting for you and they’re hungry. We checked all over and no one had ever heard of a farm boy named Petey. So we waited for months. Finally we had to come and see for ourselves. Your daddy was so good to tell Petey to find us.”

Ginger turned to her brothers. “What did I tell you about daddy?”

“Sharp as a tack that’s been filed to a pin prick.”

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This article has been read 507 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 03/14/13
This was a clever and well written entry, I enjoyed it from start to finish. Thank you. God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/20/13
I really enjoyed this sweet story. It felt like it could have been taken out of a Little House on the Prairie episode or the Waltons--at a time when life seemed simpler. You took me back to a time where life is difficult, especially for orphans but simpler as far as the world being too busy to care.

The only red ink I have is just my opinion. I almost wish Petey had disappeared mysteriously. Though I truly believe God does send angels to watch over us, that idea can be overused in the literary world. It would be no less of a miracle if Petey was sent by God, and he continued to help care for the kids.

Overall, I think you did a fantastic job. I really enjoyed the characters and the story left me with the warm feeling inside. God can do amazing things and does every single day. I have been blessed by your words.
Judith Gayle Smith03/20/13
I love this. Sharp, funny, hopeful.
Edmond Ng 03/21/13
God never lets us down—this message comes through in your story very well. No matter how dire our situation may be, we can count on God to look after us. Nicely written!
Christina Banks 03/21/13
I love the faith of Ginger, and how she continues to look after her younger brothers and teach them the lessons her father gave to her. Congratulations on your EC. Nicely done!
lynn gipson 03/21/13
oh this is lovely. I am sorry I missed it on the first go around. I love stories such as this. You have a definite talent for story telling.

Congratulations of your well deserved first place win. Excellent!
lynn gipson 03/21/13
Congrats also on your EC!
Bea Edwards 03/21/13
Great story telling!I liked it even better the second time through. Your attention to details gave it a splendid flair. Congratulations on your EC win.
Cheryl Harrison03/21/13
Congratulations on your 1st place level win and your EC. Well deserved!
Virgil Youngblood 03/22/13
Congratulations on a well deserved EC. The double names of the children gave a delightful flavor to the story and made them memorable characters. Definitely an enjoyable read.