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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: A Race to the Sky
By Karlene Jacobsen


Annie’s bright blue eyes met with her daddy’s deep brown ones as they moved in rhythm to some unspoken music; u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…. The swing creak-squeaked as he stretched his legs way out and leaned back and then forward tucking his long- wiry legs beneath him forcing Annie to lean back. It was as though he were trying to touch the sky with his toes. Annie held tightly to the chains, giggling with delight as her stomach did flip-flops with each rise and fall of the swing.

This Saturday “Daddy/daughter date” began when Annie was a baby every week of the summer beginning with the first warm weekend of spring until the final days of autumn. When Annie was too big to sit in her daddy’s lap, he hoisted her into the seat, instructing her softly, “Now, hold the chains tight, right about there,” he said placing her hands on the chains. “Don’t let go, ok?”

Annie nodded fiercely, excitement and fear swirling around in her heart and mind. “Ok Daddy,” she said knowing she could trust him completely.

He moved around to stand behind her, bent low and spoke gently in her ear, “Now, I want you to kick your legs out as you go forward and then kick back as you come back toward me; ok?” He gave a push to get her started.

At first, she was confused with the direction of her legs, but eventually got the rhythm going as Daddy stood behind, pushing gently, and making sure she did not go too high. Before long, Annie was swinging on her own, racing Daddy to the top. “I’ll touch the sky first!” She challenged.

He simply laughed as his long slender legs easily cut through the air in smooth rhythm; u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, they raced. The chains groaned in complaint as Annie and her daddy chased each other up and down, reaching for the sky.


The days of Annie’s childhood slid by; in a blink of an eye she was no longer the laughing little girl wearing strawberry- blond curls and freckles spattered across her nose. She grew into a tall, gentle woman whose compassion outweighed her physical beauty and her dad proudly walked her down the aisle to the young gentleman waiting for her.

Annie went to the park alone, one last time before returning home. The funeral had been beautiful; Daddy would be missed by many. Annie walked reverently to the lonely swing set. Lovingly, she fingered the links of the familiar chains; remembering those days with her dad. The closeness she felt could not be compared to any other. She sat in the seat, pushed off and began; u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, u-u-u-u-up ‘n down…, the old swing groaned in protest as she pointed her toes toward heaven. “You win Daddy,” she choked back tears. “I’ll keep going ‘til I join you there in the sky.”

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This article has been read 1448 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 04/09/09
This is so poignant! I loved the father/daughter bonding. With each rise of the swing u-u-u-p, I was swaying with you. I appreciate your title and how it compliments your ending.
Bryan Ridenour04/10/09
An entry like this one reminds me to cherish the time that I have with my small children and the time that I have left with my parents. Thank you.
Ruth Ann Moore04/11/09
Very sweet story. I like how you captured the sweetness of a Father/daughter relationship.
Jan Ackerson 04/12/09
Awwwww, a tear-jerker, and very sweet.
Glynis Becker04/12/09
Such a sweet story! I love it!
Tallylah Monroe04/12/09
What a lovely story! Very well done and heartfelt.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/13/09
I was a daddy's girl, and this sweet story struck a chord deep in my heart.
Sheri Gordon04/13/09
Very good writing, and a very sweet story. Your word choices bring the tenderness out in the story.

Try to avoid using cliches like "in a blink of an eye." Your writing is much more creative than that--don't rely on what others have written.

Wonderful entry--good job with the topic.
Connie Dixon04/13/09
This was really a sweet story and told very well. I enjoyed the following line especially: Lovingly, she fingered the links of the familiar chains; remembering those days with her dad This kind of writing brings a story to life. Good job!
Mona Purvis04/13/09
Such tender moments evident of the love and trust between father and daughter. My entry was a complete opposite of yours. Such a contrast. Mona
Diana Dart 04/15/09
Oh dear. Tissue needed here. A beautiful, tender story with emotion tied in tight. You did extremely well with describing the learning process of swinging high - a difficult thing to describe! The ending was sooooo sad. I know, I know - triumphant and hopeful, but still a little sad!
Loren T. Lowery04/15/09
A sweet and tender story, lovingly told. My favorite line: "... nodded fiercely, excitement and fear swirling around in her heart and mind. “Ok Daddy,” she said knowing she could trust him completely."
This says so much about you as a writer being able to identify with your characters. We both thought of swings for this week's challenge I think you executed yours beautifully and will stay with many hearts for a long time to come. Well done!
Betty Castleberry04/15/09
You captured the relationship of this father/daughter very well. You story is tender and I enjoyed reading it.
Laury Hubrich 04/16/09
I love this entry. It was so sweet. What sweet, tender memories you wrote about. Very nice job and congratulations on your placing, too!
Sonya Leigh04/16/09
Congratulations, Karlene! This was a wonderful piece. I am so grateful for my daughter's relationship with her dad...your piece brought back sweet memories.
Eliza Evans 04/16/09
WELL DONE, my friend!!

YAY you! :)
Charla Diehl 04/16/09
Your descriptions of the father/daughter relationship were tenderly and lovingly portrayed. Each blessed the other. Great piece.
Lollie Hofer04/16/09
What a lovely love story between father and daughter. Congratulations on a well-deserved honor.
Joshua Janoski04/16/09
This nearly brought me to tears at the end. You captured this week's topic perfectly with this piece. What seemed like such a simple story turned out to have much depth to it. I enjoyed this very much, and I appreciate you sharing it.