Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CLOWN (02/13/20)
TITLE: Fear Not
By Marilyn Borga
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She explained how he was just a man dressed in a silly outfit; that a circus was in town and he was puttin’ up signs to tell people about it, so’s they’d come and watch the show. I told her, if the show was full of folks the likes of him, well, I sure wasn’t hankering to go to it. Good thing then, she told me, ‘cause we didn’t have three dimes to spare anyhow.
That night after supper, once she’d tucked the quilt ‘round me, she took the Good Book down off the mantel and ruffled through the pages.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee.”
Ma had set me to memorizin’ scripture from the time I could string words together. She’d read and I’d recite; back and forth we’d go, ‘til it stuck. It gave her comfort to know I had God’s word there in my heart, even if I wasn’t old enough to read for myself.
Ma passed on to Glory three weeks later. She’d been ailin’ for some time, but she didn’t let on to me ‘til near the end. The preacher’s wife took me in with them after the buryin’, just ‘til Pa’s heart patched up enough so’s he could look after me. Times were hard a good while; crops were poor and money was scarce as a firefly in winter. Pa feared I might forget Ma, me bein’ so young, but he needn’t ‘ave worried.
That winter, whenever Pa seemed discouraged, I’d think back and draw on one of those verses Ma had taught me. I’d recite it to Pa, then we’d think on it a while, ‘til we both felt lighter somehow. Our favorite was that last one she’d read me, about fearing not, ‘cause He is with us. I think Ma knew there’d soon be plenty more to fear than that ugly old clown, and she picked that verse out special.
Pa and me found the promise to be true; the Lord did strengthen and help us, and things got better by and by. I started school the next year and learned to read. And when classes let out that first spring, Pa up and married my teacher, Miss Sadie. She ain’t Ma, but she’s the next best thing. In due time, I got three little brothers. They annoy me, each in his own way, but for the most part, they tug at my heartstrings.
We all help Pa with the chores now and work is easier with more hands. Last time the circus came to town, Pa took a whole day off and treated all six of us to a show. We scrubbed the boys’ faces ‘til they were pink as wild roses, then dressed ‘em in their Sunday best.
Sadie and Pa sat the two older boys between ‘em on the bench while I plopped Will, the youngest, onto my lap. Wasn’t long before a clown came over near to us, tumblin’, and doin’ all manner of tricks. He turned his pasty face toward us and grinned with that big painted mouth and I felt my little brother stiffen in my arms. Will searched my face, his teary eyes askin’ without words if he had somethin’ to fear. I smiled, then held him real close-like and gentle so he stopped feelin’ scared.
Then I thought of my Ma, and how glad I was that she helped me hide all those scriptures deep inside, where I could draw ‘em out like a cool drink of water whenever I needed ‘em. I decided right then that I’d start teachin’ my brothers from the Good Book that very night; blessin’ them, just like Ma had blessed me.
Scripture quote from Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)
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