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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)

TITLE: Sunday School Sendoff
By Catrina Bradley


Macy lifted a 6-foot long, L-shaped package from the top of the pile of presents. “Gee, I wonder this one is?” She caught the card dangling from the end. “From John and Debbie. Seriously, guys. A hockey stick?

“Everyone plays hockey in Canada, eh hoser?” John snickered, and poked Dianna with his elbow.

“John’s right. I think it’s a law there. ‘All Canadians will participate in the game of ice hockey.’”

“And what kind of impression would that make on your new church, the pastor’s wife breaking the law right off the bat? They might send you back.”

Macy tore the last of the bright red wrapping from the blade. “Ha ha. Watch it or I’ll find another use for my new hockey stick.” She waved it toward them and scowled before bursting into laughter and grabbing another present from the stack.

“From Jerry and Linda.” Macy ripped the paper off the box and opened the lid. “Oooh!! Did you make this?”

Jerry piped up, “Yeah, I slaved for hours knitting under a hot lamp. Killed my arthritis.”

“Riiiight.” Macy extracted the end of scarf created from the softest, deepest blue yarn and brushed it across her cheek. “Mmmm, nice. So, seriously. Did you make this, LINDA?” She continued unwinding the scarf out of the box and wrapped it around her neck, and wrapped it, and wrapped it. “And did you make it long enough?”

“We know how cold it is up there in the Great White North. We wanted to make sure you were covered.”

“Thanks, guys, I love it. And I love you. I love all of you.” Tears started shining in her eyes. “I can’t believe you did this for me.”

“You’ve been the best Sunday School teacher we’ve had, and we’re going to miss you. We wanted to do something special for you, as a class.” Linda had to grab a tissue and dab her own eyes.

“Don’t worry, the church will have another party for you and Pastor Stephen,” Jerry said. “You know us. Any reason to get together and eat.” As if to prove his point, he plucked another donut off the plate in the center of the table bit off a mouthful.

Laughter danced around the room, and Macy was grateful the somber moment was over. She dreaded breaking down in front of her class, her family, and she had come precariously close. The day was nearing when she would have to say goodbye to them, but until then she wanted to fill every minute with joy.

She opened another brightly wrapped box. “Electric socks? They make electric socks? Oh, I forgot, this one’s from Deb and Ernie. Very cool, guys. Thanks!”

“Oh, you betcha,” Ernie said. “Can’t have you getting frostbite, now can we, eh? Mighty cold up there like Linda says.”

“You guys crack me up. Ok, this one is from Amelia. Thanks for missing your own class to come to my party today, Amelia.” She removed the delicate pink tissue paper from the box. “Oh, a book light! Thanks, sweetie.”

The girl seemed transfixed by the button on her jacket she was fidgeting with. “I wasn’t sure if they had electricity up there yet, and I think it’s like completely dark for like 10 or 11 months out of the year, and I knew you wouldn’t want to go that long without reading your Bible, so I figured it would come in handy, you know?” She finally lifted her baby blues to look at Macy.


“Ernie, hush.”

“Sorry, Deb.”

Macy wasn’t sure which part of Amelia’s answer to tackle first. “You’re right – I sure wouldn’t want to go that long without reading my Bible, but I’m almost positive they have electricity where we’re going. It will be great for reading in bed, tho! I’m going to love it.” She opted to let the rest of it go.

“See, Mrs. Macy, that’s why I’m going to miss you so much. You’re always so nice even when you’re correcting me. What am I gonna do without you?”

“Oh, Amelia, you’ll be just fine. See, I’ve been teaching Mrs. Deb and Mrs. Diane and Mrs. Linda for a whole lot of years now. They’re just as nice as I am, I promise. Give them a chance to show you.”

“And the rest of you, the bell’s about to ring. So, take off hosers! Wait! Just kidding. I need you to help me clean up this mess.”

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Sara Harricharan 02/05/09
This had me chuckling through when I got the the electric socks. How fun! Loved the characters here, delightful read! ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/09
This was a clever way to cover the topic; I loved your preacher's wife and her thoughtful ways.
Leah Nichols 02/09/09
Fun story! A delightful way to present all the misconceptions about Canada. :)
Jan Ackerson 02/09/09
Very sweet story!
Karlene Jacobsen02/09/09
Really cute. I love Amelia's gift and her reasons for giving the light.
Gerald Shuler 02/09/09
The only gift missing was the camera she will need to take the picture of the Northern Lights as soon as she crosses the border... right?

Loved your slice of Sunday School life.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/09/09
The gag gifts were fun, and also an interesting way to approach the topic. Very cute story.
Connie Dixon02/10/09
Another fresh approach to the subject. I enjoyed this.
Joanne Sher 02/10/09
Delightful and sweet. A fun piece, and neat approach to the topic.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/11/09
Well written reminder of how stereo-typical our thinking can be of life outside our borders. Fun jabs too :)
Glynis Becker02/11/09
What a fun piece...love the dialogue!
Gregory Kane03/09/09
I'm looking back over a few stories and I came across this lovely entry for Canada. Everyone else has commented on how very touching and affirming the tale is. And that's all certainly true. If I may, I would like to throw in my tuppence.
It's a great story but you lost me a couple of times before I got to the end. I had to read it through a second time to work out exactly what was going on and even then I'm still not sure about the ages of all the characters.
I'm not really sure what to recommend. Probably to cut down on the inter-character interaction as I'm not convinced that this contributes significantly to the humour or to the misconceptions about Canada. As I said, a good story and I hope these comments are helpful. Gregory