Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)
TITLE: Aileen's Test
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Unseasonal snow covered the November landscape, and there was only a little cornmeal in the bin. Aileen had been living on corncakes for the past week. Frank had gone south to look for work, but that was a month ago. Perhaps he wouldn’t come back. She would make sure the last of the potatoes were dug before nightfall.
Aileen shivered, and instinctively wrapped her arm around the angelic form lying beside her. Little Cara had outgrown her muslin infant gowns, and at this age was much too active during the day to stay wrapped in a blanket. However, now she slept peacefully, a cozy, pink-cheeked cherub of promise.
Would the Lord grant Aileen an extra measure of grace to face this day? What should she do? Could she wait on Him? What did that mean?
The coals in the fireplace sputtered, gasping for fuel. Aileen rose again and strategically laid one of three remaining small logs over them, hoping to see flames burst forth. But the log only smoldered.
As she watched ominous black billows of smoke rise, an inspired plan took shape in Aileen’s mind. She would forget the potatoes. She would walk north to the nearest neighbors, the Walsh homestead.
There was no time to waste. Cara would awaken soon. Aileen mixed the cornmeal with a little water she’d drawn from the creek the day before, and dropped the mush among the hot coals. She would take the cakes with her. Fortunately Cara was still nursing.
The trip would take all day given the rough terrain and the fact that snow had begun falling again. She could wear Frank’s extra overalls under her skirt, insulate her boots with bound strips of burlap, and wrap Cara in the Irish Chain quilt. If successful, they would be safe and warm by nightfall.
It would be a grand experiment in faith.
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