Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ANNOYED (04/05/18)
TITLE: Held Captive
By Sandy Roberts
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“God is good.” Sophie melodiously chanted, “He is good.”
On this outing, their designation was Lake Havasu; a beautiful turquoise reservoir nestled in between the borders of California and Arizona. Lake Havasu City was home to the London Bridge, which spanned across the Colorado River. It was built in the 1830’s and later transported piece by piece in 1967 to the little oasis in the desert; finally completed in 1971. They had to see it.
Dad drove leisurely while taking in all the splendor of the desert scenery. As happened with most excursions and a stocked refrigerator at their fingertips, Sophie and John enthusiastically occupied themselves by energetically consuming whatever they could find. Binging was hard work. They soon found themselves considerably bloated and desperately in need of a nap. John took the overhead bunk, while Sophie tucked herself under the dining table, which by night served as a bed. At the ages of fourteen and twelve, both were blessed with overactive metabolisms.
It was late afternoon when they arrived at the London Bridge. Turning into the entrance, Sophie thought, “How majestic it looks!”
They delightedly walked across the bridge inspecting every niche and cranny in view, exclaiming numerously, “Ooh” and “Ah!”
As they headed back to the camper, Sophie noticed they were among only a few visitors that day. The bridge was virtually empty of people, as was the park ranger booth.
She looked behind at the bridge once more, squinting into the sunset.
They decided to eat dinner there. Even with all the food Sophie and John had consumed earlier, they were famished again. Must be that “hollow leg” they were accused of having. Mom began the preparations for another hearty meal.
While talking around the table and enjoying the aroma of mom’s great home cooking, they realized they were not alone. Another family decided to join them. They could tell the family was just as pleased as they to find a lovely haven of shelter amidst the arid desert. Unfortunately, they were not the “type” Sophie and her family felt comfortable inviting in. It was because they were a family of skunks!
“Sophie, shut the door very slowly,” Sophie being closest to the door, heard her mom’s almost inaudible voice say. “Don’t make any sudden moves or loud noises.”
They expected the skunks to stroll on by, but for some reason, they decided to camp there too. Perhaps it was the fragrance of freshly grilled hamburgers which drew them in. Or maybe the delicious mouthwatering potato salad, or the fact that dad parked next to a flourishing Yaupon Holly Stoke bush and an enormous Velvet Mesquite tree with silky emerald green grass underneath. All they knew was they were trapped by a family of skunks. The intruders had settled in and they were not budging. How annoying!
There was nothing they could do except hope none of the encroachers got riled and sprayed.
Being rather irritated at the turn of events and with the sun going down, dad and mom acquiesced and quietly unrolled four sleeping bags to make a night of it. It was becoming too difficult to see if their uninvited guests were still occupying the land.
Around 10:00 p.m., they heard an assertive knock on the camper door accompanied by an authoritative voice, “This is the Park Ranger! Is anyone in there?”
Dad leaped out of his sleeping bag fumbling to open the door. As he did, a bright light shined through the camper from person to person.
“Sir,” the ranger said, “You can’t camp here. You’ll have to move your vehicle at once.”
Dad tried to explain what happened, but Sophie could tell the ranger was having a hard time believing him. It appeared it was the best excuse he had heard for camping in a restricted area. Those little rascals didn’t leave any traces behind that they had held them captive for hours. Dad eventually gave up trying. He thanked the ranger and then drove the truck and camper to a more suitable place for them to spend the night.
“Even though we were annoyed, those skunks finally left by themselves.” Sophie asked thoughtfully, “Mom, is there a lesson from God in there somewhere?”
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