Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CANDY (04/28/16)
TITLE: The Day It Rained Chocolate
By Bonnie Bowden
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Limping up the bomb-splintered steps to his apartment, 12-year-old Hans put his hands over his ears as the thundering planes flew overhead. Night and day the huge silver birds roared over the city’s ruins into nearby Templehof Air Field to unload their precious cargo of flour, clothing, dried food, coal and other staples.
The pungent smell of potato soup greeted him when he walked through the door.
“Your meal is on the table, liebchen” Oma Schmidt said, from the small sitting room next door.
Hans sighed and ran a hand through his fair, short-cropped hair before he sat at the small oaken table. He licked the back of his spoon to make sure he’d cleaned every drop, though it didn’t lessen the rumbling of his stomach.
His mother’s footsteps echoed across the floor as she came into the kitchen. When she hugged him, the smoky scent of bombs still lingered on her navy blue dress. Her shoulders slumped as she slid into the chair and her normally bright blue eyes had dark circles under them.
“What do you want to do after church tomorrow? Go for a picnic? There’s that small grassy strip around the corner. I don’t think it will be too far for you or your oma to walk.”
Hans involuntarily glanced down to the brace on his leg. His thigh still hurt around the area the shrapnel had been removed, but he would do anything to cheer up his mother. His father’s last words to him before the blast were: “From little things, big things grow. I know God has great plans for you.” One of those plans was to care for his mother and his father’s mother.
Hans smiled. “That’s a great idea.” He was sure his grandma would think so too.
They hobbled slowly down the street, careful to avoid the large craters still left from the war. His mom carried a small basket filled with jelly covered crusts. When they arrived at the spot, his mother spread out an old sheet for them to sit on.
“Look, Greta!” Oma pointed.
“Hans, do you see all those small white canopies falling from the heavens? They look like giant marshmallows,” his mother said.
All three of them stretched their hands high in the sky to capture the parachutes as they fell to the earth.
Hans saw his mother blinking back happy tears as she untied the strings, and handed each one of them a Hershey bar. He watched as his mother slipped off the candy wrapper and peeled back the silver foil slowly, taking tiny bites as she worked her way down.
Imagine that. He had his very own candy bar. Hans closed his eyes and let the rich sweetness roll over his tongue, again and again, before letting it slide down the back of his throat.
Oma carefully licked her lips and fingers, making sure to get every confectionery smudge. Greta, she said, Can I have those parachutes?” “I’m going to make the prettiest apron you ever did see.”
God had once again rained manna down from the sky. Life’s sweetness had returned.
This story is based on true events during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949. The chocolate pilot or Uncle Wiggly Wings was Lt. Gail Halvorsen.
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot / by Margot Theis Raven
Candy Bombers / by Robert Elmer
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