Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OPEN UP A CAN OF WORMS (08/22/19)
TITLE: Stir Gently
By LINDA GERMAIN
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“You’d think twins would find a way to get along,” I’ve heard her say about a thousand times.
Usually, when I try to elicit more information, she sighs and drops the subject. This time, I am determined to find a way to stop the grudge nonsense, so I show up for coffee and her amazing pound cake with lemon frosting.
“Wow, this seems to get more delicious every time you make it. What’s the mystery ingredient?”
As always, she gives me a non-answer.
“I’ll leave the recipe to you and then you can have it analyzed.”
Well, never mind. That’s not why I have requested an audience with her.
Gingerly, I approach the other thing she won’t share.
“You know, Grandma, it’s time to start planning the big holiday dinner. As always, I wish I could help your stubborn sisters reconcile.”
The shades begin to come down on her window of cooperation as she pours more coffee and shelters the luscious lemon dessert under the antique glass cover with the tiny rose on top. I’m ready for her this time.
“Grandma, there is something so wrong here. I cannot understand why you won’t tell me what caused Great Aunt Penelope and Millicent to dislike each other so much they won’t even speak at a family gathering. Don’t you think it’s time to clear the air? After all, they aren’t getting any younger.”
I try not to laugh when she levels a pseudo-serious gaze at me and asks, “Who is?”
That deserves a hug, which seems to open a tiny door through which I am determined to barrel before the opportunity slips by. We adjourn to the porch rocking chairs. Daisy dog is already there napping in the beautiful sunshine on this crisp fall day.
Hoping to encourage Grandma with a ridiculously silly offer, I make my first play.
“Okay, darling Gran, here’s the deal. I will give you five hundred dollars if you spill your guts.”
“EXCUSE ME!” she blusters at what she calls my indelicate expressions.”
“Sorry. I mean the beans.”
I’m making progress. A smile almost claims her lovely face even though she is compulsively compelled to set me straight.
“Being a smarty-pants wordsmith, I think you would have a bigger pool of euphemisms from which to choose.”
We rock in silence for a while. Suddenly, from out of nowhere and with no provocation, she begins to enlighten her curious granddaughter.
“It’s almost too outrageously shameful to tell.”
Is she kidding? I can’t tell. For once, I keep my mouth shut. There’s no need to derail the puzzling confession before it’s even proffered. Daisy raises her head as if she too has been waiting to get the scoop.
“It’s really all my fault,” she begins and then stops.
Impatience pushes me to jump in with my essential reporter tools to get us moving to the crux of the matter.
“Go on. How does the fact that your sisters have been at odds for so many years have anything to do with you?”
A tiny stream of misplaced guilt flows by so quietly I almost miss it.
“Our mama was an outstanding, award-winning chef. We always knew she had written a successful, sought after cookbook. Over time, as her sole caregiver, she told me I was to have the only remaining copy. It was in a safe place, according to her, but she wouldn’t say where. After the funeral, each of the twins ransacked the house and barn and even accused each other of stealing and burying it.”
My mind feels like one big question mark as I try to process this childish scenario.
“Then why do they show up at Christmas dinner and sit at opposite ends of the table and frown?”
She nails the behavior with one word, “Power!”
“So, why is any of this your fault?"
Free of the burden of the secret information, her eyes twinkle as she continues to spill the beans.
“You just ate some of the evidence.”
Aha! The lost book is alive and well.
“Where is it?” I ask.
“Not telling,” she answers.
As I stand up to leave, my funny grandmother hits me with one more zinger.
“Okay, where’s my five hundred dollars?”
I give her a post-dated IOU.
Proverbs 20:3 NLT
Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.
James 3:15 NLT
For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic…
Proverbs 15:27 NKJ
He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house…
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