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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: Goodbye Lazy Days
By Shirley Thomas


The moving van was loaded and Nan Morrison’s car was full of items she had not felt comfortable placing in the moving van. Nan walked through the front lobby of the Lazy Days Hotel of Daytona Beach Florida for the last time. Lazy Days had been home for Nan for fifty-two years. She and her husband, Carl, had built the hotel, owned and managed it for all those years. Carl had died two years ago, leaving Nan a widow and the sole proprietor of Lazy Days. Their three children were all living in other states busy with their own families and careers. Nan had finally decided to sell her ocean front property to a high-rise condominium real estate company. The Lazy Days would be demolished, making room for a twenty-five-floor condominium.

Nan and Carl had a suite of rooms, complete with a kitchen, built as a part of the hotel. It was there they had raised their three children. They had worked and lived at Lazy Days, never leaving the hotel, except for three times, when they visited their adult children. They had remodeled and enlarged the hotel several times over the years, but it didn't compare to the new high-rises that were now being built. Lazy Days couldn't compete anymore and Nan was tired.

As Nan walked around the hotel for one last time, she was flooded with memories. She remembered the first day they opened for business. There had been no vacancies that very first day of June, fifty-two years ago. The hotel had been full of the laughter of children and the smell of coconut sun-tan lotion. She and Carl had been so young; she had been only twenty-five and Carl was twenty-nine.

She could remember bringing each of her children home from the hospital. All three had been born in the winter months when the hotel was full of the “snowbirds”. During those months almost all of their guests were retired, spending the winter in Florida. Each of them had helped her with the babies by rocking them and singing to them.

As the children grew older, their home at the hotel was a popular spot. There was a swimming pool and game room; and there was always plenty of food.

She had made many dear friends over the years, but most of them now were either in other states or gone on to the hereafter.

Nan gazed lovingly at the worn wallpaper displaying beautiful beach scenes. She gently touched the oak counter where she had checked in so many eager vacationers. Tears moistened her tired eyes as her fondest memory came to mind. It was the day both of their lives were changed forever. The day a woman evangelist came to spend a few days at the Lazy Days Hotel. Nan could remember her being so loving and so full of joy. The woman had led both Nan and Carl to the Lord the last day of her visit. From that point on they started having weekly bible studies at the hotel. For many years their hotel was the most successful on the beach. Year-round, they were always completely booked. Nan knew it was because God became their first priority and He had remained their first priority.

The sound of the ocean waves had been her alarm clock and her sleeping sedative for all these years. She listened one last time as she wiped tears away. She knew she had to leave. All of the papers were signed; her banker had called her earlier to tell her of the enormous deposit that had been placed in her account by the real estate company. She had said all of her goodbyes. The retirement center was expecting her in a couple of hours. She had already promised to lead a weekly bible study at the center. It was time for her final goodbyes.

Nan took one last look as she walked out of Lazy Days Hotel for the last time.

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This article has been read 931 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kathryn Wickward09/19/05
Could be shorter with the same impact.
Amy Verlennich09/19/05
I liked how you tied in the woman who lead them to Christ! Blessings, Amy Verlennich
Jan Ackerson 09/20/05
The first paragraph had some issues with word choice that almost lost me as a reader, but the subsequent paragraphs won me over. Nice job telling this sweet story.
Lisa Graham09/20/05
Very compelling, sweet story! Keep writing.
Alexandra Wilkin09/22/05
This is a really nice piece and a lovely story. There was a little repetition in the first and second paragraphs: would have liked to have known more about the children and the family life in their little suite of rooms, it would make the sense of reminisance stronger. But very lovingly told. God bless.
Deborah Porter 09/27/05
Shirley, this really was a lovely, gentle piece and I want to encourage you to keep writing and entering the Challenge. The thing that stopped your entry from making it into the semi-finals was the repetition of some words in those early paragraphs - such things as "moving van" twice in the same sentence. Try to avoid using the same words too close to one another. In the moving van example, you could have avoided it by saying "...that she had not felt comfortable entrusting to the removalists." The same goes for "Lazy Days" and the main character's name. But I really will look forward to reading more by you in future challenges. This was a very special entry. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)

But keep