Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: WIN (02/14/19)
TITLE: WIN A FEW, LOSE A LOT
By Mariane Holbrook
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With apologies to Christian marriage counselors, I felt our marriage should be a 50-50 arrangement; I wash the dishes and he dries them. I shop for groceries; he carries them in and puts them in their assigned places. I do the washing; he does the folding. But John felt the Bible gave him a 90-10 advantage. As head of the house, he could arrive home from work at 5:15 pm, stretch out in his Archie Bunker recliner, drink iced tea and nap until dinner, watch TV, then go to bed.
He felt my busy days of raising two Katzenjammer boys allowed me ample time to watch soap operas and chat endlessly on the phone with friends in similar circumstances.
Our goal was to beat each other at every game, whether it was golf, tennis, or even who could garner the highest salary from our teaching positions at local public schools. We even tried to out-pray each other by praying the longest.
The day before our wedding, the East Coast was pummeled by a Category 4 hurricane. John was in New York City to meet his parents at Grand Central Station. They'd faced every possible obstacle trying to attend our wedding, riding the train from North Carolina to upstate New York. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, John's old Studebaker began steaming, so he pulled over, unscrewed the radiator cap and was quickly burned all over his face.
After his mother gave him her best nurse's aid treatment, he phoned to tell me that he was one up on me in the wedding debacle department. After confirming that he wouldn't need a face transplant, I hastened to tell him that I'd beat him again: I'd forgotten to ask a church member how she was coming along with our wedding reception plans, so no reception was in the works. The florists were closed Saturday afternoon when I realized I'd also forgotten to order flowers. I'd been away at college until two days before the wedding.
My sister scoured the neighborhood, grabbing every green plant and greenery she could find to make arrangements of asparagus stalks, ferns, herbal greens, anything. Thankfully, I didn't faint during the wedding ceremony but only because my worried mother tucked a tiny vial of ammonia in my bridal bouquet which I sniffed every few minutes.
By far, the biggest contest between John and me happened one summer night when we'd been visiting his parents who lived across town. We'd each driven our own car since I needed to stop at a mall and John wanted to return home after dinner with his parents.
Later, on my way home, I was surprised to see John pull up beside me on Jackson Boulevard, a little-used but shorter route to our house. We looked at each other and instinctively knew the race was on. We gunned our engines and were propelled down the empty boulevard. John got ahead of me so I accelerated, and caught up with him. Again he pulled in front, determined to beat me.
Suddenly, he slowed down. I figured he'd either given up or was having mechanical problems. Either way, I wanted to win so badly that I zoomed past him, waving, laughing and blowing my horn. John disappeared in my dust.
It was then that I heard the high-pitched shrill of a sheriff's siren. With his blue light flashing, the sheriff pulled up beside me, mouthing, "Pull over."
As the sheriff walked toward my car, John drove by very slowly, waving, smiling and blowing kisses at me.
He had seen the sheriff's car hidden behind some trees and had slowed down immediately. I, on the other hand, only saw an opportunity to win a race over my husband and it was, "Pull out the throttle. Full speed ahead, Charlie" for me.
After receiving my speeding citation, I drove home to find a cardboard sign John had propped against the garage door. In bold, black print of a Sharpie, it read: "The last shall be first, and the first last." (Matthew 20:16)
I need to work on that boy's humility.
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