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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)

TITLE: A Memory to Keep
By Wilma Schlegel


We were renovating one of the extra rooms and storing all its furnishings in the other when Emma came to spend the night with us. There was no extra bed, no extra room, so she shared our bed with me and Roy slept on the couch.

Emma adored ‘Pa-pop’ Roy, no two ways about it. Me? I couldn’t figure it out. My jealous side wanted to know what he had done in two short years to become her idol while my self-righteous side asked, ‘Shouldn’t he let her know somehow that she shouldn’t worship him?’

I loved little Emma and spent many an hour entertaining her, but when her ‘Pa-pop’ (that’s how she pronounced it - only with a sense of wonder added in) came through the door, it was as if mystical, heavenly music rang out. Her mother told us that whenever they drove near our neighborhood Emma would announce that they were near her ‘Pa-pop’.

Anyway, on this night that she stayed with us, we got six inches of wonderful, cold, white snow - but I don’t mean to jump ahead.

First, I awoke to the sound of Columbo needing to be let out. I had not had a solid night’s sleep - Emma is restless and makes the most of the space in a bed. I got up with little prodding from Columbo - his bladder will wait only so long. I walked down the hall and passed by Roy on the couch. I put my hand on the doorknob, Columbo was right there with me.

“I just let him out and fed him,” came Roy’s voice.

Ah, so Roy’s not asleep. “I guess Columbo is just trying to figure out who’s where,” I surmised. “I thought he still needed to go out.”

Roy didn’t move.

I decided I might as well use the bathroom - the main one - so as not to disturb Emma, so as to get a little more sleep. Once inside though, what did I hear but little feet padding down the hallway? My conniving mind thought, ‘she’s headed toward her Pa-pop, I could sneak back to bed.’ Then ‘No, that’s just not right.’

I peeked out the door in the direction she went and there she was looking at me. A tiny finger to her lips, she whispered, “Shhhhhhhh - Pa-pop!”

His sleep she protects, me she kicks through the night.

It was late in the day before we got outside to enjoy that wonderful snow. We planned to get out much earlier, but life gets happily complicated with a two-year-old. All bundled up til we could hardly keep our arms against our sides, the three of us and Columbo waddled outside.

We walked, we hopped, we ran, we fell. We made snowmen and snow angels. When Emma held her arms up to me and said, “I carry you,” (that’s how she asked) I swept her into my arms and huffed my way, with Roy and Columbo, back toward the house. But Emma was not done.

She wriggled to be free as we reached the lines of fir trees. I put her down and she pushed between them and called, “Come.”

Roy said, “I’ve had enough. I’m taking Columbo in.”

So...I followed Emma into the thick, quiet boughs piled high with heavy white marshmallows of snow. We wandered in and out from tree to tree. We discovered areas where we couldn’t see out and couldn’t be seen from outside. Boughs dropped snow on us. We lifted mittens full of snow to our mouths. I stuck out my tongue and put some on it. It felt wonderfully cold and it disappeared fast! Emma laughed. She put snow on her tongue, covering much of her little face. She laughed and laughed and laughed. Again and again we did this until Roy came to find us. What fun!

I knew this time must come to an end, this day would end, but a pure joy had struck my heart. At what age do we begin to keep memories? I’ve been told that the earliest things I remember happened when I was three. I know Emma loves her ‘Pa-pop’ and with good reason and I pray that her memory will be flooded with great times spent with him and I, but what a wondrous privilege if someday when her childhood years are long past, Emma thinks back and says, “I remember how much fun it was when my Gran played and ate snow in the fir trees with me!”

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This article has been read 86 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carolyn Ancell01/09/14
This piece brought me to tears. I married late in life, a man with 12 grandchildren. They adore him; and I so want to love them and be loved in return. Thre is progress, but it is slow; and every step forward in creating memories for this grandma-come-lately is precious, wonderful, treasured, joy-filled.
Nancy Bucca 01/09/14
I could almost picture myself out there in the snow and fir trees as I read this. What a delightful memory. So much fun!
Linda Goergen01/09/14
Oh I can relate to this story, our little grandson thinks my hubby—his Pop-pop, hung the moon, while I am lucky to get a hug & kiss. But this last Christmas it was my lap he snuggled into when we went out to look at Christmas lights and then again for his bedtime story. It made my heart sing! Your story is so well done and a reminder that the most precious things in life are not things! Enjoyed!
Jan Ackerson 01/10/14
I’d love to have your input into the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons.
Danielle King 01/10/14
Aw, what a heart-warming story. Emma sounds adorable and I'm sure she'll retain the fun memory with you. I remember a Gran of mine who died when I was two years old. I've gone all broody - I need to borrow a grandchild!
CD Swanson 01/11/14
Beautiful, peaceful and delightful read. It was a wonderful journey you took me and others on, and I of course thought of my days with my Great grandmother, whom I remember as clear as day. So, the memories do stay.

Thank you for sharing this lovely piece with us.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/11/14
This is a charming piece. You did a brilliant job of showcasing your characters. It reminded me of a conversation my husband and I had. Our youngest is a Daddy's girl through and through. When I whined about it, my husband said, "The other two are closer to you, can't I have one?" My answer was a vehement No! I did struggle with the jealousy until I realized that she was learning how a man should treat her. So, I could totally relate to your MC. I liked how you wove this story around the topic too. Nicely done. :-)
Lynda Schultz 01/15/14
Odd how we talk about girls being closer to their father (or grandfather) figures and boys closer to their mothers (or grandmothers). Sitting here, I wanted desperately to go out and walk in the bush as I read your story. We're buried in the white stuff and it sounded so delicious as you described it. The good memories at the end of the day—good attack on the theme for this week.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/16/14
Congratulations on ranking 32 overall!