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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: It Would Have Been Enough
By Gerald Shuler


The eight year old girl gently placed flowers on her mother’s grave. There were no painful memories or powerful emotions weighing on her heart because she had been only a baby when her mother died. She had been raised and loved by her grandmother for her entire life. The only reason she was even at her mother's grave site was because her grandmother insisted on bringing her every year for Memorial Day.

“Grandma?” She touched the grave stone as she read the inscription.

"Yes, Gail."

“Grandma, why does Mama’s marker say ‘It would have been enough’?”

The old woman tensed briefly but then put a frail, loving arm around the child’s shoulder. “I guess it’s time, Gail. You’ve gotten old enough to know about your Mama.” She bit her lower lip softly, but then added "And your Daddy."


Carolyn took her mother’s tattered coat and placed it in the closet next to her own new mink stole. “Thanks for coming, Mama. I just changed Gail’s diaper and she's already been fed. Hopefully he won’t be keeping us out too late tonight.” She smiled weakly. "If it does get late just curl up in one of the spare bedrooms."

“Don’t fret yourself over it, Carolyn. We’ll be fine ‘til you get back.”

“I wish I didn’t have to go at all.” Carolyn’s eyes darted quickly toward the bedroom door, still closed as her husband continued getting ready. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “He always drinks too much at these company things…” Her lower lip quivered slightly. “and you know what that means.”

“Then why go?”

“You know Jack. If he says go, I go.” She looked at the baby resting quietly in her bassinet. “Besides, Mama, it’s the price I have to pay to give Gail a future.”

“Hog wash. I know I don’t have much compared to all this…” Her arm did a panoramic sweep of the lavish surroundings. “…this stuff.” She looked directly into her daughter’s eyes with all the tenderness she could muster. “Carolyn, getting yourself beat up every time your husband takes the notion isn’t love.” She shook her head in disgust. “That isn’t love at all. For the life of me, I don’t understand what keeps you here.”

“You know why I stay, Mama.” Carolyn reached for her mink stole and absent-mindedly adjusted her diamond studded necklace. “You believe the love of Jesus is enough to keep you going. For me it just wouldn’t be enough. I don’t need love. I need Jack. I need the lifestyle he can give me.”

The elder lady had heard her daughter talk like this before. Still, it crushed her to hear it again.

Carolyn saw the hurt in her mother’s eyes. If only there was a way to have what her mother had without losing everything else. Being able to feel love again would be nice but she knew better than to hope. Someday, though. Maybe someday.

“ Mama, if there was any other way I’d leave him in an instant.”

Jack’s bedroom door slammed loudly and both women gasped.

“You’d leave me in an instant, huh?” The frigid coldness in his voice pierced both their hearts with emotionless daggers. “Get your coat on. We’re late.” Jack forced his way past mother and daughter, heading directly for the front door.

Carolyn fell in step and followed behind him. She turned and looked at her mother. Tears refused to fall but only because fear had built a dam to hold them back. When Jack was out the door and out of sight she looked back at her mother and silently mouthed the words “I’ll leave him tonight. Get Gail out of here.”

And then she was gone.


“That was the last time I saw your mother alive.” The old woman hugged her granddaughter again. “Their car was found at the bottom of a ravine late that night and the police said your father was so drunk he probably didn’t see the curve in the road. I want you to know, though, blood tests showed that your mother hadn’t had a drop to drink.”

There was a long silence before Gail finally spoke. “Grandma?”

“Yes, Gail.”

“Do you think Mama finally trusted Jesus enough to understand?”

“Understand what, Dear?”

“It would have been enough.”

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This article has been read 1195 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/17/08
Oh, I have goosebumps, the sad kind, and tears are flowing freely. You had me totally in the middle of this story, and sadly, I know it is true for so many women and children. You wrote it very well, and I pray it has impact on the people who need it most.
Bonnie Way01/17/08
Excellent story... very well-written.
Jan Ackerson 01/18/08
Oh my, this is superb writing.
Karen Wilber01/21/08
This is powerful. Her situation is terrifying - I found myself hoping it would turn out for the better even though I knew what would happen.
Debbie Roome 01/22/08
This reaches right into the heart. Well done.
Peter Stone01/22/08
Great story, and the ending a surprise in that it was a drunken accident rather than murder that took the parents' lives.
Holly Westefeld01/22/08
No surprise that Jack wouldn't let her drive, or, unfortunately, that she got in the passenger seat. So sad!
Amy Kuncaitis01/22/08
Wow. This was so well written and the message was very powerful. Thank you for writing this, it really ministered to me today.
Debbie Wistrom01/22/08
What a sad true to life story, I loved this sentence. "Tears refused to fall but only because fear had built a dam to hold them back."
Keep up the good words!
Betty Castleberry01/22/08
I'm stunned...in a good way. This is wonderful writing, and the message is excellent. Five stars from me.
Loren T. Lowery01/22/08
Great writing. One of my favorite tell-all lines, "I don't need love...I need Jack." That seems to sum it all up and look at the price she, her daughter and mother had to pay. Great job with the flashback and the transitions back to the present as well.
Dee Yoder 01/22/08
The format was perfect for this story. It gave us a hint about what happened and the flashback brought the emotions and reality of what was going to happen to the forefront. Good story!
Sara Harricharan 01/23/08
This is so sad! I was riveted reading from beginning to end, this gave me goosebumps reading this. WOW. Excellent writing. ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/23/08
Absolutely powerful writing
Patty Wysong01/23/08
There should have been a tissue warning on this!! Excellent. Now I gotta go find a tissue! :-)
Sally Hanan01/23/08
Very well done. Red ink: I think you could use a Thesaurus to make regular phrases more unique, e.g. she bit her lip/she stretched out her bottom lip and scratched at an imaginary spot on it.
Tim Pickl01/23/08
I am in tears at the end -- wow! Powerful.
Sheri Gordon01/23/08
Excellent writing. The format is perfect. The dialogue is realistic. Very powerful. Great job with the topic.
Beth LaBuff 01/24/08
Wow! I like the clever way you told this. Your title is perfect. GREAT writing!
Donna Powers 01/24/08
Such a lovely and touching story and so well written. I loved it!