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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: Whirlwind Weekend
By Holly Westefeld
05/13/08


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"You've got to be kidding me!" Bonnie executed a sharp right into the adjacent shopping center lot and screeched to a halt in one of the outermost spots. "She just showed up on our doorstep, without calling, expecting to spend the weekend, and you let her in, knowing how the house is looking after the crazy week we've had."

"I'm sorry, Bonnie. What else could I have done?

"I don't know, Tom. You wouldn't be the man I adore if you had been rude to her. Did she say what prompted this unexpected visit?"

"The grand opening of some exclusive boutique tomorrow."

"And the woman who could afford to stay at the poshest hotel is opting to save on spare change so she can spend it at the boutique instead."

"Likely. I doubt if it's a sudden desire to see the grandchildren after three years absence."

Bonnie took a deep breath, and released it slowly. "Not that she has any respect for our faith anyway, but this is certainly not worth marring our testimony over."

"You're right, sweetheart. Let's pray, then we can figure out what to do about dinner. Heavenly Father, help us to be gracious hosts and good examples for our children. May we reflect your love. In Jesus' name, amen."

"Amen. ... If I pick up some steaks, could you throw some potatoes in the oven and get the grill started? I don't think she'd be too happy with chili dogs.

"Sure thing."

"I'm right here at Central Square, so I should be home within half an hour."

"Love you--bye."

"Bye, love.

Bonnie turned cautiously in next to the Mercedes, hoisted the groceries and trudged around to the patio to deliver the steaks to Tom. "What's she doing?"

"Wowing Tommy and Jen with 'a few trifles' she bought for them."

Bonnie slipped through the kitchen door, stowed the rest of the groceries, got the fresh green beans going in the steamer, then began cutting up vegetables for salad. Upon entering the dining room with the salad bowl, she was delighted to find that Tom had already set the table with the better dishes.

The kitchen door slammed as Tom entered with the steaks. "Kids, dinner's just about ready. Please go wash your hands and come to the table."

"But Daddy, I'm having so much fun with the remote control car Grandma brought me."

"Tommy, the car will still be there after dinner. Now go wash up."

"Bonnie dear, it's so nice of the two of you to put me up on the spur of the moment." The tall, perfectly quaffed and manicured woman airbrushed Bonnie's cheek with a kiss and pulled out a chair. A very startled ball of orange and white fluff shot past them. "If I had recalled that you permit animals in the house, I might have arranged for other accommodations."

Without a word, Bonnie untied the cushion from the chair and took it out back to remove the fur. "She had to pick Peaches favorite chair!" Returning, she replaced it, with the other side up for good measure.

After dinner, Bonnie changed the linens in their room, and gave the master bath a quick cleaning. Returning to the living room, Bonnie caught Tom's eye and nodded toward the luggage by the front door. Tom grabbed the bags and headed upstairs. "Jen, it's time to get your bath."

"But Mommy..."

After the children had been pried away from their new toys, bathed and tucked in, and Grandma was settling in, Tom helped Bonnie unfold and make the sofa bed.

"What would you like for breakfast?" Bonnie inquired when the model-perfect form appeared in the kitchen doorway.
"I'll get something on my way to Katrina's."

"Did you sleep well?"

"Suffice to say that if that is supposed to be memory foam, it has amnesia."

"Will you be back in time for lunch, or not until dinner?"

"I will eat out. You have enough dust rabbits to deal with today without worrying about dinner for me," she shot over her shoulder on her way to the door.

Bonnie's prayers with Jen ceased when Tommy's shout of "Grandma!" propelled Jen back downstairs. By the time Bonnie arrived, the children each held a giant cookie.

"Will you be joining us for church in the morning?"

"Certainly not. I intend to be home in time for lunch."

Later, on the sofa bed, Bonnie rested her head on Tom's shoulder. "I'm sure looking forward to your mom's visit next weekend."


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This article has been read 640 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/15/08
Aha! Fooled me. I was just sure this was her mother-in-law, not his. Great story on showing Christian attitudes, even when it's difficult.
Debbie Wistrom05/16/08
Loved the prayer over the phone.

How hard to hold the tongue when she remarked about the pets....

Jan Ackerson 05/19/08
Woo hoo, you got me with the twist! Great job!

I love the relationship between this husband and wife. I always wonder how someone with such faith-deficient background becomes so mature in their own faith. That's the definition of grace, I guess.
Joy Faire Stewart05/19/08
One of my favorite things about the story was the christian attitude, loved that. Also, excellent details putting your reader into the scene. Great ending too, I didn't see it coming!
Dianne Janak05/21/08
Great hook and you delivered... enjoyed the read adn the marriage communication.... Good work
Dee Yoder 05/21/08
Oh, wow-I fell for that twist at the end hook, line, and sinker! Really enjoyed the characters and the descriptions in your story. Very nice reading!
Dee Yoder 05/21/08
Oh, wow-I fell for that twist at the end hook, line, and sinker! Really enjoyed the characters and the descriptions in your story. Very nice reading!
LauraLee Shaw05/21/08
You really know how to tell a story. The details you chose to highlight were perfect, and the dialogue really went toward characterization. I truly felt like I was standing at the door witnessing the whole situation. Love this line:
"Suffice to say that if that is supposed to be memory foam, it has amnesia."
Clever. One more thing...LOVED that you took this slice of life and left the twist for the end, all the while giving us an incredible message to chew on. Excellent!

Sara Harricharan 05/21/08
Oooh! This was good, I really liked the twist at the end with how it wasn't her MIL after all. Good job, especially with poor Peaches. I liked the phone call-but it was a tad abrupt the switch from the shopping center to home, otherwise, good job! ^_^
Carole Robishaw 05/21/08
I could totally relate to this one. Except that she wasn't wealthy, she pretty much had the same disdain for the life we had chosen.

Great writing.
Pamela Kliewer05/21/08
I did NOT see that ending coming! Great job. You showed the Christian attitude well.
Cheri Hardaway 05/21/08
The descriptions in this piece were awesome! You could feel the snootiness of "Grandma." This is one of my favorites: "The tall, perfectly quaffed and manicured woman airbrushed Bonnie's cheek with a kiss and pulled out a chair. A very startled ball of orange and white fluff shot past them."

You had a few missing quotation marks at the end of some of the dialog. The last sentence left me a bit confused... whose mom had just visited? Somehow, I missed it.

Regardless of my confusion, this was an excellently written piece. And I'm thankful that this lady is not my mother-in-law!

Blessings,
Cheri
Joshua Janoski05/21/08
I really appreciated the Christian values you placed in this story. I also loved this line:

"Suffice to say that if that is supposed to be memory foam, it has amnesia."

Very funny! Thank you for sharing this well written story. I enjoyed it.
Betsy Markman05/23/08
Very good and believable...and a bit reminiscent of my own late mother-in-law.
Just one note of correction: "Quaffed" means "swallowed hurriedly or greedily." I believe you meant that her hair was "coiffed." But that was a very minor thing in an otherwise excellent piece. Well done.