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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: The Umbrella Staff
By Verna Cole Mitchell


I sighed as I sank into the comfort of the recliner in my bedroom. I had put my rambunctious four-year-old to bed for his afternoon nap, and having followed him around all morning while he stormed through the house, I relished the thought of a little quiet time.

I had almost fallen asleep when there was a loud crash that came from the front of the house. Getting up quickly, I ran to the den, where I found my favorite lamp on the floor—the base in more pieces than I had thought it possible for a lamp to be. Beside the myriad of fragments stood the little roll of thunder himself with the crook of an unopened umbrella in his hand. He looked up at me with his dimpled smile, his blond curls all in a tangle, and innocence shining in his blue eyes so like his daddy’s.

After instructing him to stay clear of the broken lamp, I said, “Davy, I thought you were taking a nap. How did this happen?”

“It wasn’t my fault, Mommy. I was playing like I was Little David, the shepherd boy, and the that big ol' Giant Goliath jist jumped out at me. I had to proteck myself with my shepherd’s staff,” and he lifted his umbrella-staff high. Averting further disaster, I took it from his chubby hands.

Looking beyond the pieces of what had been just this morning a beautiful lamp, I saw a line of red magic marker, snaking across our new beige carpet. As calmly as I could manage, I asked, “Davy, are you going to try to tell me now that it was Goliath that made that red mark on the floor?”

“No, Mommy, I was pretending I was Moses and I needed a Red Sea, so I drawed one. I waved my staff over it”—here he pointed to the umbrella in my hand—“and the Israelbites walked acrost it on dry land.”

Praying for patience, I sat with Davy on the sofa and asked him if he knew what a lie was? He said, “Mommy, it’s not a lie when you’re just pretending.” After some further discussion of truth and lies, I told Davy he would have to stay in his room for time-out for a long time. With his head down, he said, “Do I hafta?” before trudging off. I began to clear the lamp pieces from the floor and worked on erasing the magic marker, which I had a feeling would linger with us for more than a few days.

It was a very long afternoon of “Mommy, can I come out of my room now?” I was especially glad to see my husband when he came through the door. After he kissed me, he took a good look at my face and asked, “What has our little monster done now?”

I gave him a rundown of Davy’s mayhem and was astonished to see a big grin form on his face. “Well, Honey, It’s true he’s costing us money, robbing us of our sense of peace, and testing our patience, but you have to admit our boy is going to be a grand Bible scholar.”

He could have been right, but I didn’t “hafta” admit it.

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This article has been read 540 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Hawbaker02/07/13
Great job! Very well written. I can just see the "little roll of thunder!" Brings back memories of a few years ago.
Loren T. Lowery02/08/13
I could picture everything so perfectly, even the exasperation of the mother was visible (along with her patience). You have to admit Davy was inventive/creative/imaginative/rambunctious. In other words you've created a very real-life little boy who is contrite, but just for a while. I like the Dad's take on the situation - but then his perspective may have been a bit sewed - him being a tyke once himself. This brings back some great memories and smiles.
Beth LaBuff 02/08/13
I, too, thought the "little roll of thunder" was great. This little guy was a master at improvisation, with the umbrella crook/shepherds staff, and red sea/red marker on the carpet. :) Yikes! I had to smile at the use of "hafta" (like son, like mother). :) I had a little guy just like Davy (once upon a time ago). Based on that knowledge, the Mom in your story is in for crazy time. :)
Linda Goergen02/09/13
Oh, I could relate to this too, having raised a very “inventive/creative” little boy myself! Such an entertaining read, so well done!
Noel Mitaxa 02/11/13
Vivid descriptions of four-year=old inventiveness let loose when it's least expected. A good fun read, with a great twist at the close.
Judith Gayle Smith02/12/13
This is so very delightful! More! More!
lynn gipson 02/12/13
Oh, I love this.I can see the roll of thunder now. Very well written and such a joy to read. Took me right back to when my son was that age and he sounded just like that.

Thank you for sharing this excellent story.
Susan Montaperto02/13/13
A very entertaining story of childhood. Thank you so much for writing about your "roll of thunder" and his marvelous staff.
God bless.
C D Swanson 02/13/13
"Roll of thunder" indeed! Nicely done...this was very well written and completely enjoyable.

God bless~
Bea Edwards 02/13/13
You captured my attention and lured me into your story right away with your description of lil Davey stormin' through the house. I couldn't wait to learn of his exploits. Loved the whole thing, from the all to real 4 year old dialogue to papa's ending comments!
This could have been my own lil Jada!! 4 year old feminine storm-trooper.
Bea Edwards 02/13/13
oh yeh I forgot to add-'roll of thunder' indeed. HA what a perfectly apt description. Still grinning ear to ear imagining him standing there.
Alicia Renkema02/13/13
I agree with everything that every one said, I love stories where one can just hear the child talking as if he was right there in the room with you. And this was such a story. But one thing no one mentioned was your description of the lamp once it had been destroyed --"broken into more pieces than I thought a lamp could have" or something close to that. My little guy really got into things and we had a lot of broken things around, sometimes valuable and sentimental things. I thought your phrasing along with the whole picture you created for your reader of Davy's antics could make for the start of a whole children's series. Just think he could have escapades with that umbrella with nearly every character in the Bible. The umbrella idea was so creative to use for staff as well. Great job on this. Blessings on you...
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/14/13
Congratulations on ranking 30 overall!