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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: "A Three Dog Night"
By c clemons


“I am so cold” Marilyn stated. She tried to keep from shivering inside her big fur coat as she sat looking out the window at the snowfall. “When will this end?” she asked, not speaking to anyone in particular. Her husband Tom and her in-laws by this time had learned to ignore the question.

Marilyn and Tom had been married for only 6 months after a very short engagement. They had met when Tom came to the oil company where she worked in Houston, Texas on business. He was an engineer from an Alaskan Oil Company and while touring the plant they had somehow made eye contact and the rest as they say is history.

Now here she was in Alaska following her husband like a good wife. She never dreamed that the way of life here would be so different. They had moved in with Tom’s folks until their house could be built. The ground was frozen so until the spring thaw construction would have to wait. The months of no sun had had a very negative effect on her. She really did love Tom’s parents and living with them was not the problem. It was the cold, the freezing cold and the bleakness of everything that made her feel depressed.

Tom had told her that although the winters were cold, there was a spectacular beauty here that could not be matched anywhere else in the world. Marilyn had yet to appreciate that fact. The scenic view of the mountains right out the backdoor or the wildlife that used the backyard as a shortcut to the forest had not impressed her. At first she summed it up as being homesick. She missed her parents and her life back in Houston, and most of all she missed the heat! She never thought she would ever miss the unrelenting heat of Texas. She pulled her coat tighter and sat in front of the fire.

Marilyn watched her husband outside as he gathered more wood for the fire. Tom was a good man, a caring man, but why did he bring her to this God forsaken place she wondered? The television was droning on in the background when the weatherman’s voice broke her reverie, “temperatures will be falling again tonight, the advisory is it’ll be a three dog night everyone.” A three dog night? “What on earth does that mean?” she said out loud.

“What does what mean, dear?” Tom’s mother asked.

“A three dog night?” asked Marilyn, “I just heard the weatherman say that on television.”

“Oh that, before electric heaters and gas furnaces, Eskimo families had to rely on every member of the family to make it through a winter and the dogs were part of the family too. So on especially cold nights you could tell how cold it was by how many dogs had to sleep with you.”

“Really, that’s interesting.” Marilyn said. She began to think about what her mother-in-law had just said about the whole family doing their part to make it through a winter. She began reflecting back on the last six months and how bad her attitude been. She had complained about the house, she had complained about the cold, complained about missing her family and she had complained about complaining. What had happen to her?

Tom was the man of her dreams and he really was all that she ever wanted. Why would she allow geography to make her forget her vows? God had not forsaken this place as she had thought earlier, nor had he forsaken her. She had not taken the time to see the beauty that was all around her. “The complaining has got to come to an end now. I will not let my husband’s heart grow cold towards me, neither will I allow myself to grow cold towards him,” she thought. Aloud she said, “I’ll will not allow dogs to replace me.” She grabbed her gloves and hat and ran outside to help her husband bring in the wood for the fire.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/20/06
Your last paragraph is great! You had a few run-ons and a typo or two, but this is a story I could really relate to--I hate the cold, too! Nice job.
Lynda Schultz 02/21/06
How very clever to build a story about relationship around "a three dog night". Very nicely done.
Betsy Tacchella02/24/06
Interesting story, well told. I shivered as I read it. We hope to visit Alaska next summer. Note, that was summer, not winter.... Your writing drew me right in. I felt like I was there.
Nina Phillips03/05/06
I hear Alaska is really awesome, but I am not very well adapted to cold. Very nice story, enjoyed the end thoughts. I knew what the "three dog night" meant--still I liked the way you applied it to not being replaced by another, and growing cold. God bless ya, littlelight
Marilyn Schnepp 10/31/07
Title drew me in - and glad it did - I enjoyed the read. (And secondly...) Thanks for stopping by my "Musings..." this week on challenge...you made my day! (*.*)!