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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)

TITLE: Working Hands
By Betty Castleberry
07/31/06


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Warm afternoon sun streamed into the sparse kitchen. Marie removed the last loaf of bread from the oven, and wiped her forehead with the hem of her apron. Picking up a bowl of blackeyed peas, she walked out onto the back porch and settled herself in the swing. It was an especially hot afternoon. Beads of sweat formed at her temples. There was no escaping the heat, inside or out. One by one, she deftly shelled the peas, tossing the hulls into a paper sack and popping the peas back into the bowl. She looked across the yard and watched Bonnie, her only child, playing. She had wanted more children, but the Lord had blessed her with just one.
Bonnie looked up and saw her mother sitting on the swing. She ran to the porch, her long brown braid swinging. ‘Mama, what you doin’ ”? she asked.
“I’m just restin' on the swing, baby.”
“Mama, even when you rest, you work” Bonnie stated innocently.
Marie looked thoughtfully out towards the field where she could see her husband at work. “Well, now, that’s a matter of opinion, I suppose. You see daddy out there on his tractor?” Marie pointed to a cloud of dust trailing a flash of red, where her husband was perched on his old Farmall tractor. “Now Daddy could go to work at Uncle Willie’s feed store any time he wants. The thing is, he doesn’t want to. It would be a lot easier on him all right. He wouldn’t have to fight the dirt and the bugs and worry about it rainin’ none. Daddy feels called by the Lord to farm this land, though. He wouldn’t be happy doin' anything else."
“Now me, I feel called by the Lord to take care of you and Daddy. We may not have a fancy house, but I try to keep it clean so you have a decent place to live. I like cookin' for you and Daddy, too. It's never work if you enjoy it, and if the Lord calls you to do it, He’ll be there to encourage you every step of the way. Do you understand, baby doll?”
Bonnie cocked her head and said, “I guess so.” The two sat in silence a few minutes, watching a big black beetle crawl across the porch. It abruptly changed directions, and headed towards the rose bushes. “Mama, Bonnie asked, “why are your hands so red?”
“They’re workin’ hands, baby.” She held her hands out in front of her, and studied the callouses on her palms. “Yes indeed. They’re workin’ hands”.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 08/08/06
YOur title is PERFECT - and I LOVE your details, and the wonderful, wonderful message. Very powerful!!
Jacquelyn Horne04/16/07
Reading some of the old beginning challenges. This one, though short, has a very good story to tell.