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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)

TITLE: Momma
By Karen Deikun


I stopped listenin’ to the preacher man when I was eight years old. I blocked my mind against his voice on Sunday mornings, even though his voice was like the sweetest music, and his words were good strong words. I couldn’t hear him, cause I knew that all week long he was mean as a snake.

His wife was like a quiet little bird who hardly ever raised her head and never looked you in the eye. You could see her spirit was beat down and weren’t no fight left in her. She died one fine spring day, and my Momma went to work for that preacher. Six days a week she went to his place and cooked for his children and cleaned his house.

Ever’day when I got off the bus from school, my Momma would be walkin’ up the sidewalk to our house, her lips sittin’ like a hard line and her face lookin’ purely mad. She always wiped her face clean right as soon as she laid eyes on me, and she smiled her best smile and hugged me tight.

I mighta never knowed what made her carry that look on her face when she came home from workin’ all day at the preacher’s house, ‘ceptin that she was a singin’ woman and a prayin’ woman. After she got done singin’some right fine hymns, she prayed right out loud in her room at night, and lots of them prayers had to do with that preacher and those two boys of his.

She prayed for grace to keep goin’ by there to work, and she prayed for strength to keep her mouth tight shut. She prayed hard for those two boys to be safe and grow up to love the Lord, in spite of everthin’ they went through all week. She prayed for God to right the wrongs, and bring out the truth. An’ she prayed for that preacher to see the light and turn.

I do think she stayed workin’ over there for them fourteen long years just to see those boys safely growed up. She never got no raise that whole time – just gray hair all over her head, and a weariness to her step. But she never did lose heart, no sir. An’ she never did give up on the Lord, like I almost did.

See, my Momma prayed for me too. She held me up when my hate pushed me down, and she kept showin’ me what it was like to love the Lord ever’ day. She shined from the inside out. Wasn’t much way I could close out her words, even though she sometimes spoke hard ones. She put a lot of love into me and shared some with those two boys. I always thought she hung onto us and kept us safe all by herself. But when I tol’ her that one day she said: “Honey, I didn’t do that. That was God. I jus’ hung onto Him, and He hung on to you.”

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This article has been read 1492 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Trina Courtenay04/27/06
What a wonderfully, delightful way of writing on inner strength without ever saying the word. Your last sentence told us where "Momma" found and recieved her inner strenght from...God. And oh so true it is.
Melanie Kerr 04/27/06
The accent or dialect of the piece was well written and consistent. I found myself wanting to know more about the preacher, and the boys and the narrator.
Helen Paynter04/27/06
Beautifully written and very gripping. Loved the ending - and the beginning (and the middle lol)
Maxx .04/27/06
Loved the narration. The storyline was tight. Definate quality throughout. I struggled with the dialect ... I felt it got in the way of the free flow of the story.. made me read slower to catch every word. Is that bad? Well, maybe not.. but anything that distracts the reader is a bad thing. So, just my preference. Aside from that right on track ... and the ending is worth the story ... great conclusion.
Purity Snowe04/28/06
I so wish I could write like this. I had a fewproblems with the words and stuff but mostly this totally rocked!
Suzanne R04/29/06
A great description of a strong lady. I too was very impressed with the dialect. Well done.
Jean Elizabeth 04/30/06
Excellent writing. I loved the voice of the narrator. You have skillfully woven many images and details in a short piece. Very well done!
Alexandra Wilkin04/30/06
I loved this - the voice drew me in and the telling painted the story in my mind. Now I just want to know what happened to that preacher and his sons! Are you planning on expanding this? God bless.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/30/06
I must be the odd ball here - because I would have enjoyed the story much more if the person speaking had used proper/correct English. That's just my (insignificant) opinion...
"Why go to school", I say, "if this is what folks want to hear and read?" But great message nonetheless.
Jan Ackerson 05/01/06
Put me in the "loved the dialect" camp. I felt like I was listening to a storyteller, perhaps on someone's stoop. I was hanging on every word. Loved it.
Cheri Hardaway 05/01/06
Count me in the "loved the dialect" camp also! I believe it takes a skillful writer to ignore the rules of grammar when the character demands it. I would not advise using dialect if it wasn't necessary to paint a picture of the character, but with this piece, the character's "simple" speech and faith illustrate the truth that God can use those we would least expect, to accomplish His will in a given situation. Great job! Cheri
Valora Otis05/01/06
I hung onto the dialect like... 'He hung onto you!' Bravo, loved how you made us savor every single word in your story.
terri tiffany05/02/06
Loved the story! Loved the descriptive words and choice of voice...you pulled me right into that world.Excellent!
Anita Neuman05/04/06
Congratulations on your win! This was a great piece!!!
Debbie OConnor05/04/06
What a great ending! Your dialect was tight throughout and the story rang true. Wonderful job. Congratulations!
Garnet Miller 05/04/06
Sounds like my mother now. Since she found the Lord, He has become her best friend. I'm sure glad of that. I can see why you won first place. I love the "twang" of the character speaking.
Helen Paynter05/04/06
congratulations on your well-deserved win
Linda Watson Owen05/07/06
This is just wonderful! So tight. What a marvelous job at storytelling! My mother's work experiences as I was growing up echoed some of what you described and so did her faith. It inspires me still! Congratulations on this win...so well deserved!!
Wow! What awesome story-tellig. It flowed seemlessly, dialect an all. You are truly gifted, and I enjoy your writing immensely. Never stop!