Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)
TITLE: It Was An All Day Affair
By Deborah Engle
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“That isn’t floral scent. That smells like…the beach?” Sniffing several times, she turned around and found her three year old, Jordan, standing proudly before her. A liberal layer of lotion covered him from his hair to his shoes, and a once full bottle of SPF-70 sunscreen slipped from his hand and clattered onto the floor.
“Jordan, what have you done?”
A wide smile bloomed across his face. “I ready go park, Mommy. We see fire-pops?” Jordan’s excitement had him hopping about the room, and Sherry hurried to grab him before his saturated shoes sent him slipping and sliding.
“Fire-pops? Jordan, the fireworks show isn’t tonight.”
Twenty minutes later, Sherry settled her freshly bathed son in the family room, where she could keep an eye on him while she folded laundry. Spotting her old red and white checkered tablecloth, she pulled it out of the basket. The cherished keepsake brought back many happy childhood memories.
“This was the one thing we had to have every time we made our way to the annual “Supper On The Grounds”, back at Meadow Valley Baptist. I’m so glad Mama passed this on to us.” Sherry continued to work at the laundry, never forgetting to check on Jordan every few minutes. From her place at the kitchen table she also had a good view of the front rooms of the house. “It looks like the toy box exploded. How did that child accomplish so much in the few minutes I left him to play by himself?”
All she could do was shake her head, and get busy. “I’ll get this laundry put away, then we’ll both pick up all these toys.” With her arms full, Sherry navigated her way down the cluttered hallway. On her third step, her unsuspecting left foot landed on a Frisbee, which then did what Frisbees do – went flying down the hardwood. Clean towels flew through the air as Sherry struggled to keep her balance. Though she did manage to stay on her feet, her flailing limbs collided with the walls more than once.
By the time everything settled again, her back and arms were already complaining. Stunned, she made her way into the kitchen and filled a zip-lock bag with ice, then hobbled over to the couch to attend to her bruises. Leaning back and closing her eyes helped some, but it wasn’t very long until she heard the unmistakable crackling sound of a bag of potato chips. Instantly, her eyes popped open and she peered across the room and into the kitchen where Jordan stood at a kitchen chair, determined to open a giant, economy sized bag of potato chips.
“Jordan, what are you…”
Just then, the kitchen door opened and Rob walked in with his arms full of groceries. “Hi, Jordan. How’s Daddy’s little buddy?”
Rob leaned over to set his bags on the table, while turning to look for Sherry; at the same time, Jordan abandoned his mission, and with a shout, launched himself at his daddy’s legs. Rob spotted Sherry with her ice packs on the couch just as Jordan made impact. Rob started to fall, but was able to grab the edge of the table, which sent the groceries tumbling. A good-sized watermelon, not to be outdone by the earlier performance of the Frisbee, did what watermelons do, rolling across the table and falling over the edge. It landed on the seat of the chair, crushing the bag of potato chips, then bounced onto the floor and shattered.
The chaotic events left Rob speechless for just a few seconds, but a sudden crack of thunder snapped him back to life. Turning wide eyes towards his wife, he muttered, “What happened?”
Confused herself, Sherry could only manage, “Aren’t you home early?”
Rob sat down next to her on the couch and sighed. “I wanted to surprise you. I brought everything for a picnic.” Turning his head to look out the window, he shrugged. “Looks like we’ve been rained out.”
Sherry couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony, but that brought on a bout of groaning. “Not to worry,” she managed. “Jordan and I have been ‘picnicking’ all day.”
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