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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: Plantin' Day
By Cheryl Harrison


The aroma of fresh brewed coffee and fried bacon drifted upstairs earlier than usual. Billy stirred under the covers and pulled the pillow over his head.

“Why so early?” he muttered to himself, “Don’t they know the rooster hasn’t crowed yet?” He could hear pots and pans banging around in the kitchen and knew breakfast would be on the table soon.

Billy sat up in bed, rubbed sleep from his eyes and felt a rumble in his stomach. Nobody could resist the mouth-watering smells that came from Ma’s kitchen. Matter of fact, everyone this side of Cowards Creek knew full well that Ma Kelly was the best cook around. Billy decided that hunger pangs over-ruled the need for sleep and sprang out of bed. He dressed quickly, ran a comb through his hair, and went downstairs to the kitchen.

“Mornin’, Ma” Billy said as he eyed the breakfast table, “whatcha’ doin’ up so early?”

Ma Kelly playfully swatted her oldest son with a tea towel, “Good to see ya so bright and chipper this mornin’, Billy.”

Billy grinned and popped a warm buttered biscuit into his mouth. “Care if I go fishin’ this mornin' Ma?”

“Now Billy, you know today’s plantin’ day!”, Ma Kelly scowled at her son, “We have seeds to sow and nobody’s fishin’ until it’s done.”

Billy stuffed a mixture of fried bacon and eggs into his mouth. He knew better than to push Ma Kelly too far. “Okay Ma, I hear ya.”

Ma Kelly was proud of her garden and Billy didn’t want to let her down. Thirty minutes later he was outside with tools in hand, preparing the soil for planting. Each evenly tilled garden row was carefully labeled with Ma’s favorite vegetables: peas, carrots, onions, and tomatoes.

Billy picked up a bucket of carrot seed and began to plant. A few minutes later he saw his best friend coming up the path with a fishing pole and tackle box.

Joe wandered up the path, whistling as he came and stopped at the entrance of Ma’s garden, “I thought we was goin’ fishin’ this mornin’, Billy?”

Billy frowned, “I can’t go fishin’ until the plantin’s done.”

Joe dropped his fishing pole and reached for some seeds. “I’ll help ya get it done Billy.”

Billy grinned, “Thanks Joe.”

At first Billy and Joe planted carefully, but soon they began casting carrot seed carelessly to the ground. They tossed a little here, a little there, and then huge handfuls of seed at the end of each row. When all the seeds were gone, Billy and Joe grabbed their fishing gear and headed toward Cowards Creek.

“I hope Ma won’t figure out what we done with her carrots.” Billy said.

Joe shrugged and replied, “Don’t worry ‘bout it Billy, she won’t find out.”

A few months later, Ma Kelly stood in the rows of her vegetable garden wondering what could possibly have happened on planting day. Each row of carrots looked the same. At one end the plants were few and far between, but at the other end the plants seemed to be growing one on top of the other, almost choking one another out.

Ma grinned as she realized what her son had done. “Oh Billy”, she laughed, “Have I got a lesson for you!”

Later that evening Ma Kelly served Billy heaping plate of steamed carrots. She grinned as he munched on the sweet vegetables, juice dripping off his chin. She knew it wouldn’t be long before he noticed the note hidden under his napkin. On it she had written the following message: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7 NIV)

Ma Kelly giggled and whispered to the Lord, “I can’t wait to see his face when he realizes I figured it out!”

After eating carrots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday for two solid weeks, Ma Kelly figured Billy had learned his lesson.

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This article has been read 1109 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/14/06
A fun story with great regional flavor--I liked it a lot.

Toward the end, you switch from Billy's POV to Ma's--just slightly disorienting for the reader, but easily fixed.

I like the "boys will be boys" aspect of this story, and the dialect. Very cute.
Ruth Neilson09/17/06
*snickers* Oh, that's priceless! Leave it to Ma to teach the boy his lesson! That's just awesome!

I do agree about the POV shift...but with practice, that can be solved. Keep on writing.
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/19/06
Hehe, cute story!
Val Clark09/19/06
As the mother of, now adult, boys this is priceless! This approach to the topic has been addressed quite a bit across the levels but this is the best I have read so far. A lively story with the lesson well embedded.
Alexandra Wilkin09/19/06
Save for that pov shift toward the end, this was very nicely handled and the characters were well drawn. Perhaps a little too folksy for my taste, but the lessen shines brightly from this. God bless. xx
Joanne Sher 09/19/06
Very sweet story - and I enjoyed the wonderful characterization you did with these folk. Great ending, too!
Teri Wilson09/19/06
I liked the part about the napkin. Good job!
Donna Powers 09/19/06
Very cute! Good for Ma! I know Billy wasn't a carrot fan for long. A really nice story, and it was very well written
william price09/21/06
I bet Billy could SEE the errors of his ways better after all those carrots. Your writing is top shelf as always. The words flow effortlessly. This was such an easy and enjoyable story to read and experience. Not that it was simple. Reading this was like watching a good actor play his/her role seemlessly. It's like they are not even acting. In this piece, I just enjoyed the story, the writng didn't get in the way. I hope I said that right, cos that was my compliment:).
God bless.
william price09/21/06
Congratulations Cheryl. I knew this was a good one when I read it. God bless. Look forward to your ADVANCED entry when the challenge starts again. God bless.