Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write for the BIOGRAPHICAL Genre (12/04/14)
TITLE: Audrey Wore Red
By Jeanette Morris
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Born in 1905 into a large family of Iowa hog ranchers, Audrey learned early on that a can-do spirit was the way to succeed and thrive. She rode a horse to school, survived a scarlet fever epidemic, ignored the notion that “girls didn’t compete in a man’s world,” and quit her first real job as a teacher when she knew she wasn’t suited for that vocation. As an adult, Audrey sought out what was innovative, fun, and creative. She enjoyed making her world more beautiful and bringing out the best in others. In addition, she had a knack for fashion—sometimes outrageous fashion – like a fur stole with the animal’s head still attached, feathered hats, strings of glistening white pearls, and smart shoes with matching handbags. And she loved to wear red.
Her hands were always busy, and they were strong. She could “do stuff” – like crochet afghans, braid rugs, make tabletops out of coins or bunches of grapes out of glass marbles. Audrey worked from a home office running the business end of Seaton’s Super Value grocery stores. She owned student apartments and cleaned them when the tenants moved out. She fished, picked berries, fried chicken in a cast iron pan, and made lemon bars from scratch. She played basketball as a teenager and rooted for the Arkansas Razorbacks when she retired. And she wore red.
Audrey Seaton did not mince words. One always knew when she was “agin” something or for it. She never forgave her father for voting Republican and failing to support women’s suffrage in 1918. Being a Seaton meant being a Baptist. Or maybe it was vice versa. And when her elder daughter and husband drove off to California in 1950, pregnant and jobless, she didn’t give her blessing to that crazy idea. But she was there to help when baby Jeanette came home from the hospital in May. No grandma can resist her first grandbaby.
Audrey Seaton was a woman born ahead of her time. Perhaps her long life, to age 102, allowed her to catch up with herself and then die in the generation to which she truly belonged. In any event, her no-nonsense vivacity touched others in significant ways, laid a strong foundation for faith in God, and inspired the four generations that received her legacy of spunk and endless energy. And a wonderful box of recipes.
Red is a color that demands to be noticed. It’s not a color for the faint of heart, the timid, or the insecure. Red insists that its wearer stands a bit taller, smiles a bit wider, and lives a bit bolder. Is it because red knows that it is beautiful? Perhaps. And perhaps Audrey Seaton thought so too.
My grandma wore red, and she was beautiful.
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