Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)
TITLE: Orange Mums
By Mary Alice Bowles
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Mam, “Can you separate the orange one from the rest, you see I just need the orange one.” I looked at him in astonishment as I surveyed the dirty little fingers that caressed my bouquet of late mums on the display table.
He continued on in a raspy small voice as he said, “You see, it is her favorite color and today could be her last day, the doctors said, “Two weeks or ten days at the most”! I have been counting every day and today is the seventh day.”
I stepped back in horror as I surveyed the little stick of a boy that stood before me. His shirt was red flannel cotton with long sleeves below his wrist, his shoes were worn out and his toes protruded out to the edge of the world, but the britches were what caught my eye and I decided he was right in style as they hung off his body and dropped way too low at the waist.
I looked at him and said, “Just how many of the orange ones can I get for you honey”?
His brown eyes turned upward toward me and he said, “Mam can I buy just one?”
I looked at him and said, “Why of course you can and what would you have me put on this little orange flower”? He said, just four words, “I love you Mommy”!
I said, “Sweet heart, what is your name”? He said, “Mam my name is, “Stephen B. Wyler”
With that all said, I said, “Ok young man, stay put and I will be right back,” as I headed toward the back room.
I returned some minutes later with the best orange mums in my back room with an orange and white ribbon keeping them tied securely in place.
He said, “Mam I only have 29 cents! I said, “Honey this one is on the house.”
I ask him which hospital his mom was in and he said, on the south side of town in Mountain Memorial. I said, “Wow, that is a long walk, it will take you half an hour.” He said, I walk it all the time, bout every day, I live in The Children’s Home of Saint Mary’s just round the corner.”
He reached his little grimy hand out and I shook it like he was the King of England and I heard his little voice say, “I thank you so very much, mam,” as he exited out the door.
I knew that Children’s Home of Saint Mary’s very well. I passed it every day on my way home from work with a hunger in my eyes as I watched the children playing on the playground.
In late May of 2009, the doctor finally looked Jeff and I in the face and said, “There is no hope, Cheryl you will never be able to conceive a child.” We had been trying for 10 years every trick in the book. Every month I expected to be pregnant but every month was a failure. With the doctor’s final words, I knew that I would never be a mommy.
I expected never to see Stephen again but eight days after he bought the mums, I was reading the paper one day and I saw this on the memorial page: Linda A. Wyler loses her battle with cancer. Services will be today September 11, at the Buchanan Funeral home at 10 am. Her only living relative is one son, Stephen B. Wyler.
That evening when Jeff came home from work, he found a woman full of hope and excitement as I told him we had an appointment the following Sunday at The Children’s Home of Saint Mary’s and there was someone I wanted him to meet.
Today, Thanksgiving day 2009, there will be three places set at the home of Jeff and Cheryl Coomer and they will be thanking God for their handsome new son.
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