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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: It Happened on a Saturday
By Joy Faire Stewart
10/20/09


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Ominous clouds hung like a soggy shroud while rain peppered the windshield of my SUV. I pulled into the museum’s parking lot where I saw Leona’s little black sports car already in one of the spaces reserved for volunteers. I parked next to it.

Looking into the rearview mirror, I finger combed my thanks-to-the-rain frizzy curls. I barely recognized the dark circled eyes, edged with crow’s feet, glaring back at me.

Why did I let Leona talk me into this?

“You need to get out of your pajamas and live life again,” she’d said for the umpteenth time during the gloomy days of the past year. “There’s talk the council may close the town’s museum for the winter if we don’t have more people willing to volunteer. You’re needed!”

There I was, in coffee-stained slacks on a cold, rainy Saturday morning, racing to the door of the museum while trying to open an umbrella that had two broken ribs.

“Sue Anne, I’m so happy to see you,” Leona beamed as I entered the warmth of the museum and tucked the wet umbrella into a corner.

We laughed as I noticed she had the old Wurlitzer jukebox revved up, neon lights flashing, as Buddy Holly belted out “Peggy Sue.”

The jukebox had been donated to the museum when the old teen center had been renovated. Fortunately, some of the original, black vinyl 45 records had been salvaged as well.

In spite of myself, I snapped my fingers in time with the music. Maybe this is what I needed.

“What’s on the agenda today?” I asked.

Looking around the small confines of the museum, Leona sighed. “With this weather, it’ll probably be a slow day for visitors. I thought we’d begin sorting through boxes the custodian brought in from the high school’s storage room. I hope we’ll soon have a larger place and won’t have to rotate our displays.”

The day proved to be busier than expected. A mother and daughter had come to see prom dresses donated by local ladies. The daughter giggled with delight upon seeing her mother’s old black and gold cheerleading uniform. “I wish it still fit!” the mother sighed.

Later, I watched a silver-haired couple enthralled as Leona took them through the history of the perfume factory that operated on the outskirts of town. She explained how exquisite, crystal perfume bottles, with ebony stoppers, had been excavated from the factory site and given to the museum.

Seeing that Leona was busy with guests, I began sorting the contents of one of the boxes from the high school. Tucked in a corner of the box was a gold banner, GO PANTHERS. Smoothing out the wrinkles, I placed it on the “keeper” table.

Over the next half hour, a 1946 yearbook with mildew on its cover — perhaps I could clean it — was added to the keeper table along with copies of Panther’s Paw, the school’s newspaper during the ‘60s.

Leona locked the front door of the museum at 2 o’clock and joined me.

“How many bugs and spiders have you found?” she laughed.

“In spite of the dust and a broken nail, it’s been fun.”

She lifted a rusty tin from the depths of another box. “What have we here? It’s marked lost and found.”

I only half listened to her running commentary as she rummaged through treasures contained in the tin — “... club pins, a medal, black-and-white photos of sporting events, advertisement pens, several pocket knives, a ring ....”

“A ring?” I looked up from scanning a Panther’s Paw.

She rubbed it with her shirttail, removing some grime. “It has an onyx stone in the center, there are no initials engraved inside the band, and the year is 1965.”

Shaking, I took the ring from her hand. “The engraving would’ve cost an extra five dollars.”

Allen had asked me to wear his class ring the day he received it, but I had shaken my head. “You should wear it awhile first,” I’d said. Later that same day, he lost it in football practice.

We married shortly after graduation and had been so happy, until last year. The accident. A widow.
“You think it could possibly be Allen’s lost ring?” Leona’s voice was a whisper.

I slipped the ring onto my finger.


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This article has been read 531 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Graham10/25/09
This story is very well written, and perfectly on topic. I like the way you used different synonyms for the word "black" throughout the story . . . very creative and ingenious. The piece draws the reader's interest and holds it, showing that God does work in mysterious ways in placing His people in the perfect place at the perfect time.
Jan Ackerson 10/26/09
Awww, how sweet!
larry troxell 10/27/09
Cool. well done. found myself reliving past memories.
Mary Lou Cook10/27/09
Being a teen of the 60's this brought back many of my own memories. I doubt if anyone goes steady anymore. How sweet and how sad. Good job.
Genia Gilbert10/27/09
This is nostalgic and sweet. It looks both back and forward with MC moving on after grief. It's a great time when God helps us do that.
Allen Stark10/27/09
I lost my class ring in 1960 while surfing. Unfortunately no one ever found it. I sense your story may be true, as I've known others with similar stories. Your story had the right ingredients to hold my attention all the way through. Nice job.
Myrna Noyes10/27/09
I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written story with its lovely, romantic ending! Great job with word choices and descriptions! :) You put me there in the museum with the ladies!
Betty Castleberry10/27/09
I liked this slice of life story. I could picture the ladies in the museum. I thought the ending seemed a bit rushed, but I'm sure that pesky word count had something to do with that. Thanks for making this such an enjoyable read.
Beth LaBuff 10/27/09
I totally enjoyed looking through all the treasures with them. I loved the ending too! This warmed my heart! :)
Mona Purvis10/28/09
Sweet story that held my interest. Small towns are the best!

Mona
Loren T. Lowery10/28/09
Great story, nicely told. And from reports I read and hear on the news, these types of things happen all the time. And, it is heart warming to see one playing out in your article. Well done.
Carol Slider 10/28/09
This is a beautiful story, and I wish you'd had more words to tell it! Very unique take on the topic--I enjoyed it a lot!
CJ Raney10/29/09
Could see the story playing out in my mind and feel the emotions. Loved it!
Mary Alice Bowles11/27/09
Wonderful story line, and If I had been the judge, I believe this would have been number one! It is number one in my books anyway! Great writing!