Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GOING HOME (from vacation) (09/03/15)
- TITLE: When Colors Fade
By Francy Judge
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“This feels great, doesn’t it?”
“What? I can’t hear with all that thundering in the background.”
I spoke closer to her good ear. “Doesn’t this feel great? The mist is so refreshing. And the rainbow across the water is amazing.”
“Yes, dear. It’s lovely. Makes me think of God’s awesome power. And Noah’s Ark. Where are we?”
I bit my tongue, trying not to scream—you know this! “This is Niagara Falls. The American side. You’ve been here three times.” I forced a smile.
“Oh, yes. Of course. Well, I’m ready to leave. Are you?”
“We’ve only been here ten minutes, after driving eight hours.”
After one night watching old black and white movies in the hotel, we were back on the road. I was determined to spark Mom’s memory any chance I got. I ordered fried egg sandwiches with ketchup to go and handed Mom her brag book photo album.
“This is delicious. I have to remember to order this again.”
Not much of a surprise since she’s eaten that for breakfast every day for the last ten years.
“I love this picture of you and your sister on the slide together. You were so afraid of heights—you had to ride everything together.” She chuckled.
Mom slept for five hours, but when she woke, we sang old hymns. “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.” Her voice wiggled out the tunes she used to sing with power, hitting every high note with ease. She still sang in key, but softer with less confidence.
“Here’s another great picture from our vacation in the Poconos.”
As we neared the Whitestone Bridge, and crept along with too many cars, I peered over at the picture of me, age ten, bundled in snow pants and skiing down a mountain. “Those were fun times.”
The album closed as Mom drifted off into a sound sleep again.
After eight hours behind the wheel, I pulled into the driveway. The car sighed after such a long trip. The house I grew up in was now slate blue with white shutters. Mom’s flower garden followed a stone path to the porch.
“What a charming house. I love the color…so…why are we here?”
I squinted at her, trying not to imply she said something wrong again. But I couldn’t stop my eyes from filling with tears as she waited for an answer. “Ma, you live here. You picked that blue. You planted those daisies.”
She waved her veiny hand in the air. “I know. Just kidding. You need to lighten up and laugh once in a while. Of course I know it’s my house.”
I couldn’t help asking: “What street is this? Your address?”
“I don’t need to take a test every day. This is where I raised you and your sister. I may not remember everything, and I’m slowly forgetting more and more…but you will have to remember the laughter, the good times we shared.”
I helped her out of the car and hugged her.
“Thank you for a wonderful vacation. It’s nice to be home again, but even when I can’t remember where I live, my home is with God. So don’t worry about me. Faith, hope, and love will remain when everything else fades away. When all the pictures fade to grey, we'll still have love.”
“You’re right, Mom.” I took a picture to remember our last vacation.
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