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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Barbeque/Cookout (09/06/12)

TITLE: Vetrinarianism
By Joanne Sher


“Do I really have to go?” Samuel's pearl-white teeth, gritted together, sparkled in the sunlight.

Jennifer forced her eyes not to roll. “I think you know the answer to that question.”

“But I'm a vetrinarian now. There won't be anything for me to eat.”

She choked back a giggle. “Vegetarians can eat plenty of things at a barbecue. I'm sure there will be potato salad, chips, desserts, and plenty of other stuff.”

“Meat is gross. I don't even wanna look at it.” Samuel crossed his arms in front of him.

“So keep your eyes closed.” Jennifer placed his small hand in hers and tugged until he plodded with her of his own accord.

The pathway to the campground was bordered with wildflowers of every color, and the occasional birch tree, ripe with yellow leaves ready to drop. The crispness of an early autumn day filled the air.

She licked her top teeth and sighed. She wasn't exactly looking forward to the afternoon either. Figured the mandatory work barbecue would be a few days after she started her new job in a new town. Nothing like an office party with strangers.

And now Samuel's new friends had convinced him to forgo meat. Where did ten-year-olds get ideas like that? Just the day before he'd come home all aflutter about animals being living creatures and not wanting to eat anybody's pet. No wisdom, explanation or pleading had made him change his mind.

This was going to be a fun afternoon.

The aroma met her before she could see the gathering. She breathed in slowly and took in the scent. If she remembered correctly, spareribs, hamburgers and hot dogs were on the menu. The spices could only be the first. Burgers and dogs never smelled that good.

“Mmmm.” Samuel almost cracked a smile. “Man, that smells yummy.”

Jennifer nodded. “Doesn't it?” She gestured ahead, where the gathering was coming into view. Kids were tossing a Frisbee around and chasing each other, while a large group of grownups chatted and ate. “See, it doesn't look too awful, does it?”

He shrugged, slowing his pace. A moment later, however, his eyes lit up. “Look Mom. There's David! He's in my class from school.” He pointed to a tall blonde just beyond the kids. “Oh – and Mrs. Johnson is here too. How does she work here?”

“Must be her husband who works for Stavros.” She hadn't even considered that her supervisor might be related to Samuel's teacher – Johnson was such a common name.

“I'm gonna go play with David.” Samuel was out of earshot before Jennifer could give her assent.

She walked toward Samuel's teacher, her arm extended. “Mrs. Johnson? I'm Jennifer Blakely, Samuel's mom. We met a few days ago?”

“Oh, of course I remember you. And please call me Ann.” She smiled with her whole face, and her kind eyes sparkled. “Samuel is such a nice boy, and seems to be adjusting to school very well. My husband mentioned you were one of his employees, but I hadn't thought that you would be here.” Ann placed her hand on Jennifer's shoulder. “But I'm glad you are.”

“Me too. Do you mind if I ask you a question, Ann?”

“Any time. What is it?”

Jennifer rubbed her fingers together and shuffled her feet. “Have you been talking about vegetarianism in class? Suddenly, Samuel has sworn off meat.”

Ann raised her eyebrows and giggled. “Ah yes. You see, the day before Samuel started school, we had a field trip to a farm, and a few of the kids, shall we say, made the connection between animals and food at the grocery store. To be honest, it happens every year, and it generally passes after just a few days. I guess David and Max told Samuel about it. Those two were especially disturbed.”

“Well, that's a relief.” Jennifer smiled. “Not that I have anything against vegetarianism...”

Ann waved her hand in front of her face. “No – I know what you mean. It's good for the kids to understand where their food comes from, of course, but some take it to an extreme – especially this young.” The teacher glance toward the buffet table and smiled. “And I think your son's new obsession may pass sooner than you might think.”

Jennifer followed Ann's gaze to find her son and David walking toward her, each sinking their teeth into a hamburger.

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This article has been read 695 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 09/13/12
Cute story...nicely told and well written. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks.

God bless~
Francy Judge 09/13/12
You did a great job writing realistic dialogue. I felt like I was there listening to their conversation. I enjoyed this.
Karen Pourbabaee 09/14/12
Good job with this cute story which has great dialogue!
Ellen Carr 09/14/12
A great story and very well written. I really enjoyed it.
Loren T. Lowery09/17/12
Vetrinarism and Vegetarianism - now that is something to ponder. Your dialogue and your characters all seem to be authentic tying the storyline together.
Bea Edwards 09/18/12
A pleasure to read. I could just imagine this dialogue occurring with my grandchildren which made it all the more enjoyable. A very well crafted story!
lynn gipson 09/18/12
Just a wonderful story, excellent writing and so true about children learning about life.

I love it!
lynn gipson 09/18/12
Just a wonderful story, excellent writing and so true about children learning about life.

I love it!
Noel Mitaxa 09/18/12
Loved the dialogue and the colours and enrgy that flow through this piece. Great work, with a cute twist at the end.
Marie Hearty 09/19/12
Lovely story. The dialogue was great as well as the descriptions.

I took notice of the part when the teacher told the MC that she didn't think she would be at the barbeque. I would love to know the underlying reason for that. :)

Great job and God bless.
Myrna Noyes09/19/12
I loved the description of the birch tree being "ripe with yellow leaves ready to drop"! :) Great writing throughout this charming story! (And I am a vegetarian!! :) )
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/19/12
This is a sweet story. I really enjoyed the characters. The mom showed such wisdom in respecting her son's vegetarian views. (And I chuckled at the vetrinarianism line) You covered the topic in a fun and fresh way.
Margaret Kearley 09/20/12
Have only just read this - apologies for being 'so late in the day'! What a great story and really wonderfully written. Enjoyed it so much, all the characters so real and a great storyline. Thankyou
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/20/12
Congratulations in ranking 10 in Masters and 17 overall!
Jacob Gibson09/30/14
Hi Joanne! Thank you for another helpful critique on one of my articles (Power Tools). Sorry it took me this long to reply. I loved this story. Even though I knew where it was going, as I'm sure most of us did, it still me made smile. Giving something up you love is much easier in your head than in reality. And that reminds me... maybe you could talk about that subject at the end, such as letting go of things that aren't beneficial. Or just share a verse about it. Or you could have the mom remember things that are difficult for her to let go of and that would help her sympathize with her son. But then again this is a challenge article so maybe it doesn't need anything else. Great job! God bless.