Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HARVEST (11/21/19)
- TITLE: Harvesting Love
By Rachel Burkum
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Lucy quirked a skeptical eyebrow and licked the spoon that had come from the mixing bowl of chocolate goodness. â€œGmma ss winner tum.â€ She quickly swallowed the chocolate and twirled the spoon in the air. â€œItâ€™s winter time,â€ she reiterated. Christmas was over, having left a trail of lights, greenery, garland and random ornaments. The rest of the family had gone for now - aunts, uncles, cousins - and the atmosphere was eerily silent. At least Lucy only lived five blocks away, so she could come and go whenever she wanted.
Grandma smiled as she peered over the top of her reading glasses. â€œReally? I thought it was summer.â€
Lucy rolled her eyes before returning the spoon to the kitchen and coming back. â€œSo what on earth are you talking about?â€
â€œHere.â€ Grandma handed her a portion of Christmas cards and letters sheâ€™d received in the mail during the last month or so.
â€œUmâ€¦ okay. These are prettyâ€¦â€
Grandma chuckled. â€œStart reading. Anything with personal notes, set in one pile. And anything without, set in another.â€
Lucy blinked. â€œGrandma, are you feeling okay?â€
The chuckle became full laughter. â€œIâ€™m not the one who ate a half bowl of chocolate.â€
â€œIt wasnâ€™t a half bowl. It wasâ€¦ just a little bit.â€
Grandma simply grinned then pointed to the cards again. â€œThis is when I collect all the notes from people who took the time to write me over the holidays.â€
â€œWellâ€¦ why?â€ Lucy started sifting through the cards. Some were very pretty, with gold or silver in the pictures. Others were simple, like ones found at the dollar store.
â€œBecause when everyone has gone homeâ€¦ sometimes I need to remember Iâ€™m not alone.â€
Lucy bit her lip as the truth hit her. Grandpa had been gone for a long time now. She hadnâ€™t really thought about Grandma being lonely. It had to be hard, especially after the entire family had been there all at once. â€œYouâ€™re not alone. You have me.â€
â€œOf course I do.â€ Grandma reached over to give her a squeeze. â€œNowâ€¦ who do you have there?â€
â€œUmâ€¦ somebody named Gloria.â€
An hour and a half later, the mountain of mail had dwindled to a couple neatly stacked piles, now sitting next to two empty plates of brownie crumbs. â€œThat was the last one.â€ Lucy flopped back in he chair. â€œHow do you know so many people?â€
Grandma just smile once again as she stood to take the dishes to the kitchen. â€œIâ€™m old.â€
â€œNo, really,â€ Lucy called after her. â€œLikeâ€¦ half these people thanked you for things you did, or encouraged you about what you do every day and stuff. I have likeâ€¦ three friends at school.â€
â€œIâ€™ve had an entire lifetime to gather those people around me. And now God uses them to remind me He still cares for me.â€
Lucy swung her legs for a few moments then finally got up to help wash the dishes. â€œSo what will you do with the cards and letters now?â€
â€œI put them in a special box. And then on rainy days, I open it up and read them again while I sip a nice, hot cup of tea.â€
Lucy grinned at the mental image. â€œThatâ€¦ sounds nice.â€
â€œYou can start doing the same thing, you know.â€
â€œReally? I donâ€™t get that many cards though.â€
â€œI didnâ€™t get many when I was fourteen either.â€ Grandma shook the water off her hands before wiping them on her apron, and heading back to the dining room. She returned a few minutes later with a red, sealed envelope that had Lucyâ€™s name on it.
Lucy squinted before taking it slowly. â€œWhatâ€™sâ€¦ this?â€ Without an answer, she opened the envelope to find a Christmas card sporting a horse and sleigh. And inside was a special note from Grandma that said how much she loved her granddaughter and how much God loved her, too.
â€œI realized I gave you gifts, but I never gave you a card,â€ Grandma mused. â€œAnd how can you have your own card harvest party if you donâ€™t have any?â€
Lucyâ€™s lips spread into a smile and she hugged the card close. â€œThank you.â€ Then she stopped. â€œThereâ€™s just one thing though.â€
â€œYouâ€™ll have to teach me how to make hot tea for those rainy days.â€
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