Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)
TITLE: A Storehouse of Raindrops Just Awaitin'
By Benjamin Stephens
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Aunt Mamie had listened to her nephew for days. She had hoped that he would have become a bit more refined since his arrival, yet she often found ‘treasures’ in his pockets that she felt were detrimental to her constitution.
She had sent Daniel to the swimming hole, but he had come back with grim news, “Ain’t nothin’ there but mud, and even that’s askin’ for a drink.”
“Daniel Lawrence Spencer, you are absolutely incorrigible.” Mamie laughed, placing her hands on her hips. Deep down though, Mamie had to agree. The beautiful trees dotting the countryside were wilting and the grass was sparse and brown.
“What does incurgidible mean anyhow?” Daniel asked.
“It means that there are days I think you are hopeless,” Aunt Mamie feigned frustration.
“Oh, I ain’t hopeless Aunt Mamie. I gots me lots a hope. It just bubbles up, and I don’t even ask it to,” Daniel smiled a toothless grin. When Mamie noticed, he confirmed, “Yep, lost me another one. Sure glad I like grits, they’s slippery and go down easier than cornbread.”
“Well, if we don’t get rain soon, grits may be all we have to eat.” Aunt Mamie swept her ample features from the porch swing and went back in the house. Daniel followed.
“‘Taint as bad as all that, Aunt Mamie. The rain’ll come again. I gots me some true hope right here,” Daniel smiled pointing to his chest.
“Child, hope doesn’t grow crops, water does. Hope doesn’t feed the cattle, either.” Aunt Mamie was trying to be nice, but Daniel’s enthusiasm in the face of this drought was irritating.
“Why, I never thought I’d see the day when my own Aunt Mamie started feelin’ sorry for herself.” Daniel clucked his tongue.
“I’m not feeling sorry for myself, Daniel. I’m just concerned, that’s all,” Mamie blustered.
“Naw, you’s feelin’ sorry ‘cause thin’s ain’t going the way you’s used to,” Daniel said.
“Are you being disrespectful?” Mamie asked.
“No, Ma’am. You said I ain’t got me no hope. Well, the way I figure it the picture’s different dependin’ entirely on where you’s standin’,” Daniel said.
“What are you talking about, young man?”
“I’s here ‘cause Mama and Papa died. I ain’t got no friends and sometimes you expect too much from me. But I ain’t said one thin’ about it till now. God gave me a new home and someone to love on me and tell me when I get it wrong. The way I figure, all my hopes has been answered.”
Mamie smiled at the little boy and wrapped him up in a full fledged hug. After she let him go, she wiped away a tear. “Thank you, Daniel,” she said.
“If God can answer my prayers for all them thin’s don’t you think He could do something about the rain?” Daniel asked.
“God has more important things to deal with than whether we have rain or not, Daniel.”
“The way I got it figured, God is always wantin’ to help His people out. Maybe He’s waitin to hear you say you want it.”
The thought had never occurred to Mamie before.
“I talk to God all the time,” Daniel said. “You should talk to Him, too?”
“I know how to pray, young man,” Mamie frowned.
“Maybe you oughta practice a bit more.”
That was all it took, Mamie couldn’t decide if she wanted to laugh or cry, so she did both. Then Daniel prayed for rain.
“Lord, thin’s is dry round here. I ain’t never seen so much dust in ma’ life. You’s got a storehouse of raindrops just awaitin’. So, I’s askin’ with all the hope you’s gave me – send it on. Thank you, Lord. I pray ‘cause Jesus said I could. Amen.”
Nothing really changed in that moment; The birds still trilled a hungry cry and the dust still blew, but something happened in the heart of a very surprised Aunt Mamie. For the first time she had hope.
Sometime after the shroud of deepest sleep fell on the valley, God sent His answer, a slow and steady reminder of the power of prayer and a heart of hope.
Daniel looked at the rain covered window, smiled and fell into a dream-filled sleep of tadpoles, rain barrels and swimming holes.
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