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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)

TITLE: Our Not So Frequent Get-togethers
By Randy Chambers


"I'd rather not think about it," Sheldon grimaced. "Let's just go and get it over with." He walked into the bathroom and shut the door. "You know this is just one of those things we have to do," Joanne said more loudly as to penetrate the shut door.

No reply.

Joanne continued getting dressed, and mulling over what had been said--wondering if there was something more she could say. It seemed to her that Sheldon was always running from any uncomfortable thing. His growing reluctance to cope with any and every undesired situation was getting so very tiresome, and it felt as though he would not be happy until she equally felt his misery.

She turned to the door. "You can't stay in there all day!" With a deep sigh she fastened the next button on her blouse.

Still, not a word.

After a few minutes, light broke through the slightly cracked door as Sheldon began to open it. He hesitated, gathered his thoughts, and opened the door the rest of the way. His eyes searched the air for a reasonable response. "You know," he locked his eyes on hers, "it's not like this is some typical family gathering."

Delighted that Sheldon was going to finally open up, Joanne seated herself at the foot of the bed, folded her hands, and gave Sheldon her undivided attention.

"Not that we could ever be seen as a typical family," Sheldon joked. His slight, momentary smirk faded. "You know how I hate these things. You know how I wish I could be anywhere else." He sat down beside Joanne, clasping her hands between his. "I can't think of one good thing about it."

Joanne slipped one hand out and gently lifted his chin. "Look at me." Her eyes waited on his. "Try to look at the bright side." Sheldon began to pull away. Joanne gently gripped his chin and regained his attention. "You haven't seen a lot of your family in so long. This will give you a chance to see how they're doing."

Sheldon stood up, retrieved his shirt from the back of the chair, and began putting it on. Joanne adjusted her posture, squarely facing Sheldon. "When was the last time you saw uncle Charlie? Or how about your cousin Wendy?" She waited only a moment, then continued, "You know they would love to see you." She rose and moved in front of him. "Sheldon, you know that you really need to take advantage of these times...you know it."

Joanne moved away and continued getting dressed. "I mean, after all, when was the last time you saw your grandpa Tom?"

"Please don't," Sheldon pleaded.

"When was the last time you and he had a conversation?"

"I asked you..."

"That's all I will say."

Sheldon and Joanne Finished dressing without another word. But neither was angry.

Dressed and ready to go, they headed out the front door. Shutting the door, Sheldon looked to Joanne. "I just hate it," he continued as though no time had passed between remarks. "Why is it that the only time we get to see each other is because of a death?"

As they walked to the car, Sheldon wiped a tear from his face. "Funerals are not family reunions," he continued, "I just don't understand why we have to wait for a funeral before we see people we haven't seen in so many years."

"Sheldon honey." Joanne took Sheldon's hand, in one of her hands and gently placed the palm of her other hand on his cheek. "Then why don't you do something about it?" She stroked his face tenderly. "Why don't you make it happen; plan the get-together? I would be happy to help you dear."
Sheldon's eyes lit up.

"After all," Joanne encouraged, "It may be exactly what grandpa Tom would want. As you get together with your family who is still living, it could be like a tribute to your family who has passed."

Sheldon smiled, started the car, and he and Joanne made their way to what would be the last time a funeral would be considered one of their not so frequent family get-togethers.

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This article has been read 675 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beckie Stewart06/12/08
It is sad that in many families, like my own, this is the only time we reunite with the extended family.
Dianne Janak06/13/08
The twist surprised me here, and I loved it. Just when I thought he was a defiant teenager, he turns out to be a delightful but sad young man. Sad for a good reason. Loved your dialogue and description of both characters. You toook a few moments and brought me in. Great writing.
Joanne Sher 06/13/08
Convicting message - and very well done. (LOVE your mc's name) ;) Enjoyed this.
Lynda Schultz 06/13/08
How very true—the family get-togethers should be a whole lot happier than meeting at a funeral. Good lesson here.
Colin Swann06/21/08
Thanks you masters for your expertise and encouragement that we writers experience from you, right from starting out as beginners.