Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (Don't write about the song) (04/16/15)
TITLE: Let It Go
By Leola Ogle
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“Doggone-it,” he barked. “Who did that?”
“S’cuse me,” said a tiny voice. “Sorry. Can I have my ball back?”
He growled and sent the ball sailing back over. The old fence was lined with bushes, so he couldn’t see who had spoken. What was a child doing in that crazy Doris’s backyard anyway? He couldn’t stand Doris. He hadn’t spoken to her in years. She had killed his beloved Elsa.
The little-girl voice drifted over the fence. She was singing a song about “let it go.” Clyde wanted to scream, “Shut up,” but instead, he stomped into his house.
The next day he was raking leaves in his front yard when the little girl came out of Doris’s house to check the mailbox. “Hello. Thanks for giving my ball back.” The girl was grinning, prancing on tiptoes, and waving her hand.
“Ugh,” he mumbled, and turned his back. It must be a grandchild of Doris’s. All the more reason to be rude.
The next day he was in the backyard when the curly-haired head poked through a hole in the fence. “Go away,” he snarled.
“What do want, little girl?”
She wiggled her body through the hole. Clyde made a mental note to fix it. The girl stood and dusted her clothes off. She smiled. He returned it with a frown.
“You’re a pesky kid. What’s your name?”
“I meant your first name.”
“Madison is my first name.”
“That’s a dumb name for a girl.”
Madison crossed her arms and scowled. “Grammy said I should count my blessings I don’t have a mean neighbor like you. I said you weren’t mean cause you gave my ball back.”
“I don’t like your Grammy. Did she tell you that?”
“Yup. Hey, Mister, what’s a blessing? And why aren’t you one?”
“Humph! Ask your grandma. She gets that nonsense from the church she goes to.”
“Weeellllll, Grammy says your wife was a blessing and her best friend, but she’s in heaven now. Grammy says she misses her every day. And you miss her, too. That’s why you’re mean.”
Tears pricked at Clyde’s eyes at the thought of his precious Elsa. “Elsa was everything to me.”
Madison eyes widened and her mouth formed an O. “Elsa is my favorite name. She’s the Snow Queen of Arendelle.” The girl started singing the same song she had two days ago. Out of breath, she stopped and sat in a lawn chair next to Clyde. “I like chocolate chip cookies.”
“Why should I care what cookie you like?” Clyde tried to sound gruff. “Why are you staying with Doris anyway?”
“You can buy me cookies if you want. And my mommy is on a business trip for a week, and Daddy is deplored to Afgraham.”
“Deployed to Afghanistan.”
“That’s what I said. Oops! Gotta go. Grammy’s calling.”
Madison scooted through the fence in response to Doris’s voice. Clyde could hear Doris telling the little girl, “Don’t bother Mr. Smith. It’s not polite.”
Clyde suppressed a chuckle when Madison said, “But he’s not mean, Grammy.”
Why he drove to the store that evening to buy chocolate chip cookies was a mystery. Pesky little girl. He wasn’t going to forgive Doris just because he liked her granddaughter.
Still, he was pleased when Madison wiggled through the fence the next morning. “You can come through the gate if you want,” he snorted.
“Okay,” she grinned. “Oh, you bought me chocolate chip cookies. Thanks.” She threw her arms around his neck.
A lump formed in Clyde’s throat. “Won’t your Grammy be mad you’re here?”
Madison nibbled at a cookie. “She talks about you. She said she prays for you every day. It breaks her heart what happened to Elsa. She said she counts her blessings every night. I’m one of her blessings. Elsa was too. And you used to be before you got mad at her. Oh, don’t cry, Mister.”
Madison touched his cheek where tears were. Maybe it was time to forgive. He disagreed when Elsa started attending church with Doris. Doris was driving that stormy night the accident happened fifteen years ago. Elsa was killed instantly and Doris almost died.
Bitterness had poisoned him long enough. Clyde felt a weight lift. “Madison, it’s time I was a blessing again.”
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