Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: STIR (11/12/15)
TITLE: Without Chance, The Pottage Perisheth
By Leola Ogle
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Times were hard in Farmtown. Years of drought had taken a toll. Many left for greener pastures, but a remnant remained – less than one thousand stalwart souls.
The remnant was close-knit. Everyone looked out for their neighbors. Provisions were shared. They were a quiet, humble folk filled with love and compassion. They prayed for the drought to end and their farms to be restored and prosper. They drew on their good character to see them through difficult times.
Chance was a happy lad, not understanding the poverty surrounding him. He knew he wasn’t as smart or talented as most, but hoped someday to be worthy of the fine folk who loved him.
The drought ended the year Chance completed high school. Farms prospered. The town spruced up with improvements. The future looked bright. Chance wanted to get a job like other young people. Folks scratched their heads, wondering what Chance might be capable of doing. He couldn’t do important jobs that required a sharp mind. The cook in the small café in town – known for its home-style cooking – offered Chance a job.
“You can help in the kitchen, “Cook said, who decided to be called Chef.
“But what can I do?” Chance asked.
“Stir. We will put the ingredients together and you will stir.”
Thrilled, Chance announced to everyone, “I have a job.”
As the town prospered, attitudes changed. People vied for prominence. Dissensions arose over trivial things – whose farm had the best crops, should they get a new mayor and judge, should they build a new school, did they need more than one church.
Chance went about his job with enthusiasm. Café grew to Restaurant, and Chance was very busy. He told Chef they might need two stirrers, but everyone in town felt overqualified for such a menial task.
When Chef hired two more cooks, he informed them they might need to stir their own ingredients. They threatened a walk-out. “We’re cooks, not stirrers. Besides, you have Chance for that. Why should we?”
“I can do it,” Chance said with a smile. And he did, working very hard to stay atop the work load.
Within two years, Farmtown looked totally different. Restored and polished, with additional buildings, Main Street rivaled that of bigger cities. Restaurant, that once catered to the palate of common folk, began offering gourmet meals.
The popularity of Restaurant grew. People from neighboring towns came there to eat. Chef strutted with pride. Cooks puffed out their chests. Waiters and waitresses gloried in their importance. Chance kept stirring. He diminished in worth in the eyes of the people who once nurtured him. He didn’t notice and was content. He understood the necessity of his job.
Restaurant attracted the attention of a noted food critic who planned a visit. Not only did Chef and his employees – except Chance – swell with the importance of such an event, the whole town basked in the glory.
After much debating with the committee, Mayor DoGood decided to rename the town Sensational. “For we are sensational,” he smugly said. The people applauded.
Finally the day arrived for the visit of Food Critic. Restaurant hummed with the hustle and bustle of preparations. Chef was the first to notice Chance wasn’t there. “Where is Stirrer? I need him to stir.”
“He called in sick. He could barely talk,” said Maître d’.
“EEEEEKKKK!” squealed Chef. “Who will stir? Cooks, you must do it yourself.”
Cooks refused because it was beneath them.
Chef sent for the mayor. Mayor DoGood said, “I’m too good for such a task.”
“There’s no scripture for it,” Preacher said.
“No law requires it,” Judge declared.
“No books are written on stirring,” Teacher informed.
“No crime is committed if you don’t stir,” said Sheriff.
Ingredients were thrown together, but no one stirred. “It’s not necessary,” was the consensus.
Food Critic ate and made notes. His expression revealed nothing. Folks eagerly read his review the next day. “Butter only on one side of potatoes. Vegetables had too much salt on the left and none on the right. Dessert had large clump of cinnamon in the middle.”
The dismal review created quite a stir. It was a lesson to the town that often what appears as least important is most important.
Chance happily returned to stirring.
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