Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CHECKING IN OR OUT (hotel/motel on vacation) (08/27/15)
- TITLE: Lasting Impressions
By Cindy Duncan
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
“Anything new this year, or just the usual stuff?” Kate asked.
“Actually, I did add a couple of things. Chocolate and tomato seeds.”
Kate burst out laughing, almost choking on her drink. “These people are going to think you’re crazy, Josh.”
“Yeah, I know, but that’s part of the fun, don’t you think? Anyway, Mom loved homegrown tomatoes, and she always said chocolate was her antidepressant. So I thought they would be a good addition.”
“They are, and you’re a good addition to my life,” Kate said, yawning. She fluffed her pillow, already feeling the travel sleepiness that so often overtook her. “Wake me up at our first stop, okay?”
Josh nodded, and reached over to squeeze her hand. He wished his mother could have met Kate; she would’ve loved her. He thought of his mom as he glanced at his sleeping wife.
Josh’s mom had been a cleaning lady at a local hotel. He remembered when she would come home exhausted, her back and feet hurting. He could still hear her telling him, “Josh, always pick up your trash, and keep your room neat. There’s no excuse for being nasty.” He used to tell her that when he grew up he would buy her things so she wouldn’t have to work so hard, but she was killed in an accident when he was still a teenager, so he never got the chance. Since he couldn’t fulfill that promise to his mom, he had started giving to random hotel maids instead.
“Wake up, sleepyhead, we’re at stop number one,” Josh said, as he gently shook Kate’s shoulder. “Let’s go check in.”
After checking in, they took the box to the room and began emptying it. They took out the chocolate and tomato seeds, along with the usual array of gifts. Things like gift cards, the latest best selling book, movie coupons, and always a hundred dollar bill. Josh put a gospel tract next to his hand-written note explaining that the gifts were free, and the room was clean. Leaving the key on the dresser, they left room number 210, and headed to the next stop on their list.
“I have a couple of questions,” Kate said, as they turned back onto the interstate. “I know the 210 is because your mom’s birthday was February 10th, but why do you bother to check in at different hotels? Why not just give gifts to the maids at the hotel we’re really staying in?”
“Because we only went on one vacation when I was growing up. I still remember how proud and happy Mom was when we checked in to the hotel. She said it made her feel special, like an honored guest instead of a cleaning lady. I think of that every time I check in, and I guess it just makes me happy. What’s your other question?”
“Have you ever tried to find your father?”
“No, and I don’t really care to,” Josh replied. “I mean, I understand we’re supposed to forgive and all that, but Kate, he wanted Mom to abort me. He even offered to pay for it. Can you imagine? She knew the sacrifices she would have to make; yet she still chose to have me. I literally owe her my life. I just wish she could’ve lived long enough to see some of the fruits of her labor. If God ever blesses us with a child, I’ll be the best father ever, because she taught me what a great parent is.”
Kate smiled at his answer, and continued to help him at the next three hotels, each time checking in to room 210, and spreading out the gifts.
When they finally arrived at their hotel, they checked into room 312. “You couldn’t get 210?” Josh asked her.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask. For some reason, I wanted 312,” Kate said, as they stepped out of the elevator and headed to their room.
“Sounds like I’m not the only crazy one,” Josh teased her, as he opened the door.
Sitting on the dresser was a collection of some of Josh’s favorite things, along with a card reading, “Congratulations, Daddy to be! Expected arrival date-March 12th.”
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