Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)
TITLE: Mary the Bakery Fairy
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Twas right before Christmas and all through the shop, employees were busy and worked round the clock.
The ovens were stuffed full of cookies and loaves, in hopes that soon patrons would show up in droves.
Sweet goodies were lined up in ranks on their trays, while visions of sugar-plums swirled in a haze.
Heads donned with a hairnet and others a hat, kept dreaming of customers getting quite fat.
When knocks on the doorframe brought such a loud clatter, I jumped in surprise to see what was the matter.
Away to the entry I flew very fast, threw open the door and then stood there aghast.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, spread the luster of noon from her head to her toe.
For what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a volunteer helper: “Come in please, my dear!”
With a smile and a laugh I nodded to Mary, then reached out and hugged her – “You must be a fairy!”
In rapid succession my helpers they came, and I gestured and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Ruthie, now Kathy, now Carol and Anna! And Carolyn and Emily and Katie and Shannon!
And Rhonda, and Francie and Wanda and Carrie! To your stations now hurry, there’s no time to tarry!”
Swept up by the workload they waved on Miss Mary; handed an apron and baked goods to carry.
So off to their tables the women they flew, with trays full of cookies and bowls of glaze too.
With practiced precision swept Mary’s deft hand, as cookies she topped with sweet sugary sand.
As I held my breath and was turning around, it seemed every worker had lost her long frown.
For dressed in God’s grace from her head to her toe, the face that was Mary’s shone bright with love’s glow.
Abundance of joy overflowed from her heart, and touched all the others with strength to impart.
Those eyes – how they twinkled! Her dimples – how merry! Her cheeks were like roses, her lips like a cherry!
Her sweet little mouth was drawn up like a bow, while the light from her eyes seemed to sparkle like snow.
The cookies piled high shaped a towering maze, but Mary stood firm and just stroked on the glaze.
And yes, her round cheeks and her little round belly, they shook when she laughed like bowls quite full of jelly!
She worked with delight, a right jolly, sweet elf, and I laughed as I watched her, in spite of myself.
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head, they gave me to know that my soul had been fed.
The night – it passed swiftly, with Mary along; each project a blessing, each heart full of song.
She laughed at the hours spent working for free: “Please, please don’t you pay me,” she giggled with glee.
Then swooping her coat to create a stiff breeze, she donned hat and boots so that nothing would freeze.
And finding her way to the door she turned ‘round, addressed all the girls and then said what she’d found.
“This shop is a God-place of service and love, it’s showered with blessing and grace from above!”
Then turning she opened the door and walked out, leaving us confidently without doubt.
She climbed in her car, turned the key to ignite, then waved with a grin as she sped out of sight.
We shouted outside with one grateful accord: “Merry Christmas, kind Mary!” and, “Thank You dear Lord!”
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