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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: A Letter to Julie
By Betty Castleberry


Dear Julie,

Hope this letter finds you, Walt and the children happy and healthy.

Iím writing to share an experience I had recently. You were right when you said I needed something to occupy my time. Since my retirement and the passing of your beloved mother, Iíve done nothing of any value. The senior citizenís lunches and afternoon domino sessions werenít fulfilling my need to feel useful. In fact, I will admit I was on the verge of depression. Looking for a part-time job seemed to be a good way to get out of my funk.

I came across a newspaper ad Bargain Mart had placed advertising for a greeter. Since I have over thirty years experience as a greeter at church, this sounded like just the ticket for me. I filled out an application, and they called me for an interview.

Daydreaming about doing something interesting and worthwhile was just about all I did until the day of the interview. I even dug out that bottle of Magnificent Man cologne that you sent me at Christmas. I wanted to smell nice and make a very good impression.

Arriving right on time, I could barely contain my excitement. A lovely young lady named Miss Gray showed me into her office to ask me some questions. It wasnít until she started to speak that I realized the battery in my hearing aid was weak. I leaned forward in the chair, pretending to be very interested, but honestly, I was just trying to get closer to hear what she was saying.

She then asked me if I would be willing to participate in a hug fest. I didnít learn until much later she had actually said drug test. At any rate, I thought asking for a hug was a slightly odd request. Having always been self-employed, I didnít know how interviews worked, so I obliged her. Now Julie dear, I assure you it was a fatherly hug. After all, she was about your age, and she even reminded me a lot of you. Miss Gray stiffened at the embrace, and looked at me strangely for the rest of the interview. She even placed her hand on the phone at her desk. I assume this was to alert someone if the old geezer got any more funny ideas.

She promised to call the next day to let me know whether or not I got the job. ItĎs been over a week now, and I still havenít heard from her. I am not holding out much hope at this point.

At first I was terribly disappointed, but I believe God had something else in mind for me all along. As I was on my way out of Bargain Mart, I ran into Alice Bryant taking advantage of the half price sale on room fresheners. Iím sure you remember her from church. Her husband passed away recently and she needed something to keep her busy, too. She has gotten involved in the churchís wonderful after school program, Adopt a Grandkid. The idea is to pair children with senior citizens who volunteer to watch the kids until their parents are off work.

Alice chatted with me about volunteering, and I agreed. Yesterday was my first day to help out. The children are delightful, at least for the most part. There was an incident or two of cookie snatching and pigtail yanking, but kids will be kids, after all.

I am going to continue to help out as long as Iím needed in the program. I feel I am providing an important service, and I do enjoy the children. We are teaching them to pray and talking to them about Jesus.

I understand now why I was not supposed to get the greeterís job at Bargain Mart, although I was terribly disappointed for a short time. In fact, Julie, there may even be a bit more to this than just the children in need. Alice and I are having dinner together tonight. I have invited her out for Chinese food, her favorite. I am not sure where all this will lead, but I do ask that you keep an open mind.

Itís late, and I need to get ready for this evening. Please tell Walt I said hello and kiss the kids for me.


P.S. Would it be too much trouble to send me another bottle of Magnificent Man cologne? Alice loves it.

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This article has been read 1086 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 03/06/08
I could just picture all this happening. I love the Magnificent Man cologne and the incident at the interview is priceless. Well done.
Sheri Gordon03/06/08
Very good writing. I like the bits of humor thrown in here and there. The MC's voice was excellent. Great illustration of the proverb.
Arlene Showalter03/08/08
I howled w/ laughter over this one! Superb!
Peter Stone03/10/08
Very humorous and believable, and right on topic.
Seema Bagai 03/10/08
A memorable character and a funny story. Great job.
Holly Westefeld03/10/08
I enjoyed the warm chuckles and pleasant read.
Patty Wysong03/10/08
Oh, this made me chuckle! The humor was just right and I love that he found something better than being a door greeter. I really like this!
Catrina Bradley 03/11/08
Hilarious! Love this letter. I think withholding this information: "I didnít learn until much later she had actually said drug test." until the end of that paragraph would it even funnier.

Volunteering at church is a much better outcome to his day, not to mention a possible romance. Love the "p.s.". :) I enjoyed reading this very much!
Karen Wilber03/11/08
This is great--humor, a good lesson, lively writing, characters to care about. Fantastic.
Kristen Hester03/11/08
Darling! Darling! Darling! This was delightful (and darling)!
Debbie Wistrom03/11/08
So perfect for the topic. Such a fun read. Top notch.
Hope, hope, hope!
Sharlyn Guthrie03/11/08
You've managed to include so many wonderful elements in this letter. I love the father's tenderness toward his daughter, the bits of humor and the suggestion of possible romance.
Henry Clemmons03/11/08
You might have felt your title boring, the story, however, was anything but boring. Great energy and joy. Thanks for sharing.
Joshua Janoski03/11/08
This one is going on my favorites list. I loved it! It was very humorous and had an awesome outcome. One question though...where can I get a bottle of "Magnificent Man" cologne? :)
LauraLee Shaw03/11/08
Where is the Roll On The Floor emoticon when you need it? Oh my goodness!
Chely Roach03/12/08
This was adorable...good job.
Lyn Churchyard03/12/08
Betty this was priceless! I loved the "hug fest" and having her hand on the phone in case the "old geezer" got funny ideas. Just so good, so good.
Mandy White03/12/08
I love this story! So uplifting and funny. Thanks for sharing.
Marita Vandertogt03/12/08
This is a fun read - and I love the ending... who knows what lurks around the next corner of God's plans for us. Enjoyed this!
Sara Harricharan 03/12/08
Heehee, cute twist with the cologne at the end! I didn't see that coming, but it was a nice surprise and it was definitely something happy-a great silver lining. ^_^
Sherry Castelluccio 03/12/08
This was so adorable! Hug fest- LOL. Very funny. I might have written the whole thing in italics, though but that's just me. This was delightful and fun and completely charming. By the way, I'll take a hug fest any time. xoxoxo
Jan Ackerson 03/12/08
Betty, this is priceless--I love your "senior citizens" stories. And I don't think the title is bad at all.

One question--how was he able to chat effortlessly with Alice if his hearing aid had gone out during the interview?

I was so happy to see the spark of romance at the end. This is perfectly delightful!
TJ Nickel03/12/08
Enjoyable, creative, funny...what an excellent story.
Joanne Sher 03/12/08
Clever and delightful - and I love your MC. I ALWAYS love your laughs, Betty - thanks for sharing them!
Sara Harricharan 03/13/08
LOL! Congrats on your EC! I'm so glad this piece made it! ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/13/08
Congratulations, dear Betty, on recognition for this wonderful story. I can't believe how much you told in so few words, and, of course with your usual humor. I loved it.
Sheri Gordon03/13/08
Congratulations on your EC. This was one of my favorites this week. Excellent job with the topic.
Shelley Ledfors 03/13/08
I LOVE this, Betty! I had read through it quickly earlier, but hadn't yet made a comment. What an absolutely charming, well written story. Congrats on the EC!
Joanne Sher 03/13/08
Woowoo, Betts! Very well-deserved EC! (do you often write in the male perspective? Don't recall any other pieces from that POV, but I could just be not thinking of them)
Mariane Holbrook 03/14/08
What a well-deserved win! I'm so proud of you, Betty! God bless your sweet heart!