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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)

TITLE: Life's Ribbon
By Marina Rojas
10/24/04

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The chubby baby sits in the middle of a crowd of people who seem to be intrigued with staring at him. They jump in his face and yell, “BOO!” All he can do in response is to giggle at them, which he notices causes them to laugh right back at him. “It sure doesn’t take much to keep these people happy,” he thinks.

* * *

Called into the presence of Hurricane Mom, the girls stand in silence as they are being yelled at for something they did or did not do. The Hurricane’s normally placid face is red with anger; her nostrils flaring like a bull after a matador. She is tossing papers, jackets, shoes, and talking so fast none of them can really understand her. Suddenly, it happens. Something about the whole scene has hit one of girls as funny, and she begins to giggle uncontrollably. Trying hard to stifle the chuckles causes the Hurricane to stop and glare at her. Her older sister tries to salvage the moment, and looks at the girl to accusingly proclaim, “What’s wrong with you? This is serious!” With her bottom lip stuck out in a defiant grimace towards her sister and a no-nonsense look back at their mother, that does it. Every single one of them breaks out in hysterics. The Hurricane is laughing so hard, she banishes them from her sight as she wipes away the tears caused by the merriment. She has laughed so much she can’t even remember what she was mad about in the first place.

* * *

The navy blue suit stays in the plastic cocoon provided by the dry cleaners until the very last minute. Continually glancing at the clock, she nervously practices her interview lines. This is an important chance for a promotion. “I have the finest qualities you can look for in a leader. I am able to encourage and motivate staff to go places they’ve never been before. I am confident that I will be able to lead the personnel to new areas of growth.” It is “the” line she’s practiced over and over again.

With the interview done, she smiles remembering that “the” line had come out perfectly on cue. She was confident that she would be a top contender for the supervisor’s job. Shaking the interview panel members’ hands, she turns to leave the room. Grabbing the door handle, she looks back and smiles, letting them feel the confidence oozing out from out all around her. Two steps forward and the door closes behind her. It took a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the dark. She has just walked into a broom closet. There was nothing else to do but laugh.

* * *

They were sitting next to her dying mother. Her brother’s hands held the old woman mother as if she were a little baby. She had fallen asleep, so they sat there as each labored breath escaped her lips. The girl looked into her brother’s blue eyes, giving him a weak smile. He turned his face to her and announced, “I’ve always been her favorite, you know.” Somehow, the bearded gray haired man in front of her became the freckled-face bucktooth 7 year old who had caused her as much grief as a little brother could possibly cause. “No, you were the baby. She just felt sorry for you.” Her retort was quickly answered with her brother pulling her hair. She tried to push him off the chair, so she could grab her mother’s hand, but ended up having to be happy with sticking her tongue out at him as their mother stirred, her eyes opened. “Mom!” they practically jumped on her at the same time, “I’m your favorite, aren’t I? I’m your favorite huh, Mom?” The old woman turned her head towards the battling siblings, and smiled, reaching out to them both. “My dear children,” she said, “I was never really fond of either one of you, but I couldn’t talk anyone into taking you home with them, so I was kind of stuck with you both.” She gave them a loving grin, and then dramatically turned her face away to try and hide the fact that she was laughing.

* * *

Laughter is an attribute of God, given to us to weave a comforting thread through our lives in times of joy, anger, nervousness, heartache, and grief. And what’s strange, is that there’s nothing funny about that!

2004©Marina Rojas


Member Comments
Member Date
Marina Rojas10/24/04
Editor's Note: paragraph 4 shows a very important reason to read and re-read your article when you are trying to submit items half asleep. It should read old woman (not old woman mother) only.
Marina Rojas10/24/04
Editors Note about Note. Do not ever make the mistake of counting incorrectly. Prior Note is talking about paragraph five, not four.

Hey, I just turned 50, old women make mistakes.
Karen Treharne10/24/04
Marina, this is awesome. You held me intrigued throughout and really not wanting it to end. Thank you for the blessing and inspiration. Yours in Christ, Karen
Joanne Malley10/25/04
Marina,
Interesting style of the three separate stories and how laughter is weaved into our lives under many circumstances.
What a pleasant read!
Warm wishes, Jo
Teresa Lee Rainey10/25/04
Marina, I was so caught up in your stories that I would have never noticed the error. This is beautiful. I loved it! I laughed, I cried, I agreed. Thank you. :^)
Lucian Thompson10/25/04
Marina, I am like Teresa, I got so caught up in the different (fabulous) stories that I didn’t notice the errors either. They don’t mean a thing to be when the message is conveyed and you did a great job of that.
Corinne Smelker 10/25/04
“My dear children,” she said, “I was never really fond of either one of you, but I couldn’t talk anyone into taking you home with them, so I was kind of stuck with you both.”
That is my favourite line!!

You know, funny thing about typo's - when the story is strong the odd type here and there can be overlooked. One of the winners for the Editor's Choice in Satisfied had one or two errors in their story, but the theme and the story was so well put together they still placed in the top 8.

Well done with this story - I loved the little vignettes that you used.
Joyce Poet10/25/04
I love this writing style. Scene changes add so much interest and individuality to an article. Very creative, indeed. And the lesson is fantastic. Glad I had the opportunity to read it. Treava
John Hunt10/25/04
Marina,
Very nicely done, typo and all. Well-illustrated topic using three seperate scenes. :^)
L.M. Lee10/26/04
liked the way you broke this up in to sections to tie all of it together with laughter.
Lynda Lee Schab 10/27/04
Marina,
Loved it! Each scenario was one so vividly real (I walked into the broom closet right along with her!) I also did not notice the typos as I was so engrossed in your article.
Wonderful job - well written and true-to-life!
Love, Lynda
Mitzi Busby10/27/04
Marina, Happy belated birthday. Your entry was adorable. I enjoyed reading it. I could really relate to the Hurricane Mom story.
Rita Garcia10/27/04
Marina, Enjoyed your woven ribbon of laughter, and the way you tied it up with a big bow in the ending. Blessings, Rita
darlene hight10/27/04
Marina,
It is so true. I was just thinking today how often it is when at a funeral,you find people laughing. But there is something in that. It let's you know that life still continues on. This was a great read. Thought provoking.
Deborah Porter 10/28/04
Marina, all good, but that last scene was too much. I could picture it all too well. Well done. Love, Deb
Barbara Ann Smith10/29/04
This article shows each reader the joys of laughter in different instances. What a treat as I read this today.
Debbie OConnor10/30/04
Excellent! Vivid portraits of different occasions for laughter - even in the midst of sorrow. I still can't find the typo! Very strong article!
Debbie OConnor10/30/04
One more note - I LOVE Hurricane Mom. I've been her and been convulsed by the laughter in the midst of my "rage." Great depiction!