Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BOOK(S) - Begins January 4 / Ends January 11 (01/04/18)
- TITLE: Pages of Memories
By Francy Judge
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I wiggle my toes under my blanket, and Daddy grabs them.
“Caught one! I think I’ll have a piggy-toe sandwich for lunch.”
“No!” I shriek. “Give me back my toe! Eat Kelly’s toes.”
“Alright, Amelia. Here you go.”
Kelly shrieks and laughs.
“Kelly’s toes are too small for a monster like me. Your toes are just right, but I’ll save them for later. Did you pick out a book?”
I hand Daddy my favorite book at age five.
Good Little, Bad Little Girl. “What a surprise—the same book you have picked the last hundred days.”
Kelly sits and bounces in a pile of picture books she pulled off the bookshelf. She holds The Poky Little Puppy upside down, and tosses Mother Goose. “Buh buh!”
“Okay. Here we go.” Daddy plops Kelly on his left side, and I snuggle on his right. “Once there was a good little girl and a bad little girl. They both lived together in the same big house.”
As he reads about a little girl who is sometimes good, thoughtful, and kind, but at other times selfish, mean, and stubborn, I follow the illustrations. The little girl wears a bonnet and dress tied with a bow like the girls from Mom’s favorite show Little House on the Prairie. The good girl looks sweet, smiling as she helps. I imagine the bad little girl, stomping her feet, is the good girl’s sister. I don’t understand she is the same person, and wonder why they have the same face. Maybe they’re twins like Debbie and Darlene in my kindergarten class who always wear different colors so Mrs. Oaks can tell them apart. I want to be the good girl, but sometimes I act like her sister. When Kelly scribbled crayon on my drawing, I screamed and crumpled the paper and threw it at her. It was her fault, but I had to say I was sorry and hug her.
“And when she was a good girl, she was a happy girl, and everyone was her friend.”
He closes the book, and is about to tuck us into bed until Kelly says, “Buh, buh, ‘gen.”
Daddy sighs. “Again? How about another book? We only read Goodnight Little Bear fifty times.”
Kelly hands him the same book, and we laugh at the silly clown face he makes. “Okay. Last time tonight.”
As I prepare to close the box to add to the giveaway pile, I rummage through one more time and notice a ribbon dangling. It hangs from the Bible I gave Dad so many birthdays ago. I add that to my bag to keep. It is the book that explained Good Little, Bad Little Girl to me. I would spend years trying to be perfect until my heavenly Father revealed his truth—it wasn’t possible to be the Good Girl, only the forgiven daughter of the King.
I gather photos to hang on Dad’s memory board when I realize what is missing. The box of books. Kelly helps me set up the tables at the funeral home with years of books he shared with us, from Good Little, Bad Little Girl, to Treasure Island, to his favorite Agatha Christie mysteries. The Bible is placed at the center to remind us Dad is now reading the word with his Father in heaven.
Some books wear too many years to give away. These pages hold the time when my father was alive and young, sharing his passion for reading and his love for his children. The pages must be separated with care, so not to be torn, but the memories remain written on our hearts.
This is a fictional story inspired by one of my favorite children’s stories, Good Little, Bad Little Girl, written and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.
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