Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: JOIE DE VIVRE (delight in being alive) (08/18/16)
TITLE: A Man Called Salt
By Francie Snell
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Jacque gave her a consoling smile. “Oh, but my dear, these places provide us the opportunity to make much money. We need to come here to negotiate the best prices with our dubious fur trapping friends. If they cannot look at us in the eye, they won't do business with us.” He gently brushed her cheek with his fingertips. "We will only be here a short while. The ship leaves day-after-tomorrow.” He extended his elbow to her. “Come, let us find the tavern where we are to meet these men.”
As they strolled down the boardwalk, the skirt of her silk dress was spread out in the shape of a bell over her velvet slippers. She daintily stepped alongside her husband. Together, they appeared as perfect as two porcelain dolls.
A short distance down the dock sat an old man where he sat most days. Weathered by many years of living on the sea, his leather like skin covered his chiseled features.
“It's a beautiful foggy day,” he called cheerfully to the couple as they passed him. “Wouldn't you agree?” he added with a mirthful twist in his smile. “You look a bit lost. Are you looking for some place in particular?”
Jacque cleared his throat and made his best attempt to speak English. “Ah, yes, we are looking for the main tavern in this town where the fur-traders frequent. Can you direct us?”
The old man nodded slowly, shifted in his chair, and then pointed towards the far end of the harbor. “That way. That's where you'll find them. Down at the end.”
“Thank you. And your name sir?”
“Salt,” he said with a chuckle. “They call me Salt.” He winked with a glimmer in his eyes.
“Salt, I am Jacque, and this is my wife Renée . We are pleased to meet you. Thank you for your direction.”
As the they continued on their way, Renée looked back at the man with curiosity.
All through the night Renée tossed in her bed. She couldn't get the old man out of her head. How could he be so happy in such lowly circumstances, when she, pampered with luxury and perfume, was not.
After a restless night Renée woke up determined to inquire of the old man. “When you are meeting with your trapper friends, I will meet with Salt,” she announced to her husband.
Jacque lifted his brow. “Salt?...the old man we met yesterday...why do you wish to speak with him?”
“He is so interesting to me. He smiles and is so joyful when there seems to be no reason for it. I want to find out why.”
So it was all that day that Renée sat with the man listening to his many stories of hardships and blessings, calamities and miracles, heartbreaks and joys. They were testimonies spoken from a seasoned heart with one common thread. “Jesus was always there,” Salt would say. “He is my best friend.”
Early the next morning, Renée shot out of bed, wrestled on her dress and quickly slipped on her slippers.
“Where are you going?” Jacque groggily asked as he lay in bed.
“I must tell Salt what has happened! “ she said, grabbing her scarf, and then running out of the cabin and down the hall.
Standing on deck at the side of the ship, Renée frantically waved the scarlet scarf over her head. Tears streamed down her cheeks. Unabashedly, she cried out across the harbor that every ear could hear. "Salt, I now know Jesus. Thank you. You have helped save my life!” The old man looked up from his Bible with a smile and waved at his new sister. A brisk westerly wind filled the sails of the clipper ship, pushing it away from shore, and out to the sea, taking her to the new life that awaited her.
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