Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)
- TITLE: Smoke Rings
By Allen Scovil
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His life had seemed like that after Lisa died. It had been five years since she had succumbed to cancer, quick, painful, deadly. He had been on the verge of retirement, looking forward to spending time with her again, just as he had when they had first wed. She had loved gardening, and he had done the digging, putting up the fences, moving the rocks. Those had been happy days; but, that smoke ring had disappeared as others had come, one for each of the children.
The children had taught him an important lesson, humility. After all, who is the master, the one who is waited on or the one who serves? But he had never gained the balance between serving and being in charge as well as he would have liked, tending to be the whip-cracker when a velvet glove would have done the job. However, the children all still sent him cards and gifts on Father's Day.
As those rings dissipated down the years, he had won the yearned-for promotions that had built a wall between himself and his beloved Lisa. Only her faith in God had brought him around mere months before she passed away.
I still need her, God, he thought. Can't you take me home to be with her? What's the danged holdup anyway?
His pipe had gone out, as he had. He brought the straw hat down over his eyes to hide the world away from him for a while.
The bench twitched. He glanced out of the corner of his eye. "What do you want, boy?" he demanded of his grandson, Mark, who had just sat down beside him.
"Grampa Dan," he whined, "you were gonna teach me what all the birds are called."
"Did I say that?"
"Uh-huh, you promised."
Daniel sighed, and he felt a tear leak out of his eye.
I can be such a mule-headed so-and-so, he thought. My pipe only goes out when I let it alone.
* * * * *
I know my characters give me away; but, they work so well. Besides, I'm used to writing novels.
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