Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TRAVELER (01/28/16)
- TITLE: A Punctual Parable
By Chris Goglin
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"Last call to use the toilet." Bonnie declared. She handed out snack bags and double-checked the seat belts. Her husband, Alex, carefully squeezed the first aid kit and jumper cables between the Angry Birds and Star Wars luggage of his two sons. Nichol, the eldest of the children, always kept an eye on everything.
"Don't squish my makeup bag Dad!" Shouted Nichol. "That stuff is very delicate!"
"It's fine,” Alex smiled. “Everything is snug and secure. I'm going next door to see if the Bodine's are ready."
Nichol shook her head. Good luck with that Dad!
The Kerstin and Bodine families were neighbors for many years; they were about to set off on their annual vacation together. Each family of five was remarkably similar in age and lifestyle, and enjoyed each other's company. The highlight of their trip this year was a wedding celebration in an authentic castle not far from their home in Elgin, Scotland; it was by special invitation only.
Walking through his front yard, Alex sniffed the fresh mowed grass he’d cut earlier. He didn’t know how long they would be traveling, so he wanted everything to be left in a tidy condition.
Looks pretty good…Glad I filled the gas tank up last night…hopefully Liam and Moira are not late again…like last year.
Tripping over his neighbor’s garden hose left strewed on the front steps, he stumbled into Liam's front door, bracing himself.
Hearing the racket outside, Moira opened the door clad in a tattered robe, curlers, and fuzzy rabbit slippers.
"UUUHH, sorry about the noise Moira. We are all packed. Are you ready to go?”
"Oh Alex!" cried Moira, shading her eyes with her hand. “We’ll be ready in a jiffy! Gotta get dressed, load the car, and…"Liam, are you out of the shower yet?" Moira shouted, kicking off her slippers. "Jack, Emily, Ruby…I'm going ta skelp yer wee behinds!"
"It's alright Moira," whispered Alex. "Just…let us know…when you are ready. We will be waiting."
Alex motioned to his expectant travelers to return to the house.
"It will be awhile," said Alex, grasping the car door handle.
All responded simultaneously. "Yes, we know!"
The Bodine’s had developed a reputation of always being late…it really wasn’t anyone’s fault; it was just the way they were.
Finally, Liam and his family pulled up by Alex's car. They apologized for the wait.
“Everyone in?” Alex bowed his head. “Dear Lord, we pray for your traveling mercies, and help us get to the wedding in time, Amen.”
Both cars coasted backwards down the driveway.
"We're off!” Alex waved. "See you in Edinburgh, if you lose us!"
One hour out, Alex noticed Liam’s car slowing down and pulling over to the side of the road.
“What’s up?” cupping his hands to his mouth.
"We’re running out of petrol,” Liam turned to face Alex. “We need to find a filling station. Do you have a wee bit we could borrow?”
Frustrated by the delay, Alex replied. “No, I’m sorry, just have enough petrol for us to get there. You’ll have to backtrack a few miles to find one. I’m afraid you'll miss the wedding by then!"
"I know…should have filled up last night. Please save us places at the ceremony if we get there in time.”
Alex nodded, but knew the invitation was explicit about the arrival time.
The Kerstin family arrived at the castle earlier than expected. They looked for their friends for some time, but to no avail.
"I wish they could have been here." Bonnie sighed. She held her husband and family close. "They are missing the most exquisite wedding I have ever seen! It reminds me of the biblical story about the five wise virgins and five foolish ones from Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV). If only they could have been more prepared.”
The massive, iridescent gates closed majestically, as the Bride and Groom walked down the aisle.
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