Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Just Spring" contest entry- Spring's Promise

     This short story is for Susanna Hill’s “Just Spring” Contest.  The entries have to be stories for children. They can be prose or verse, and no age of the audience was specified. The entry has to be 350 words or under. (I came in exactly at 350!) and end with the line, “[character name] knew spring was here at last!”  The deadline is March 18th.  To read more about the contest visit http://www.susannahill.blogspot.com/   Wish me luck!  

Purple martin
     
                     Spring's Promise



        Since Dad’s accident, Mom was at the hospital all the time.

Instead of pizza Friday night, Maya and Pearl had to eat whatever the neighbors had kindly delivered.

It had only been a week, but nothing was the same.

“I want to go outside,” Pearl complained. “Grandma promised. But she fell asleep.”

Maya forced a smile. “C’mon,” she said. She couldn’t make Dad better. She couldn’t cook dinner. But she could play with Pearl.

She flipped her collar up against the wind.

“Look!” Pearl pointed to a nest on the ground.



“It probably came down in the wind,” Maya said. “Don’t worry. It’s from last year. Most birds haven’t come north yet.”

She walked toward the metal pole in the middle of the yard. The bottom half of the pole to their purple martin houses. Purple martins were Dad’s favorite birds. He even talked back to them, imitating their joyful gargling sound. She helped him clean the houses each winter.

“We’ll put the houses back up on Saturday,” Dad had said last weekend. “To be ready for the scouts.” 


Then the truck rear-ended Dad’s van.

What would happen if a scout came, and the house wasn’t up?

Dad would be sad. Their yard would be quiet. And buggy. Purple martins ate a lot of mosquitoes. Maya thought of Dad again.

He wanted the houses up.

Maya could barely lift the houses. Another pole attached to the underside. She couldn’t balance it over her head to slip it onto the pole in the ground.

“Let’s go!” she told Pearl.

“I don’t want to go in,” Pearl groused.

Maya took Pearl’s hand and went next door.

Mr. Landers answered her knock. “What can I do for you?”

Maya explained the problem.

Before Mom came home, Mr. Landers had the house up.

“You shouldn’t have,” Mom said. “Everyone has done so much already.”

“Just glad to hear Don is doing better,” Mr. Landers said.

“Look!” Maya pointed to a lone bird circling overhead. “It’s a scout!” And she smiled for the first time in a week.

Maya knew Spring was here at last.

THE END

Thanks for stopping by to read! I appreciate knowing what you think in the comments.
I'm betting there will be a lot of stories to check out this week. Stop by Susanna's blog to read the others if you get a chance.


37 comments:

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    1. In Spring, and summer, and autumn and even winter!

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  2. This is lovely, Wendy! I love that the story teaches a little about purple martins, and I love Maya's determination to do something positive that is within her control in a difficult situation. And I'm glad she got the house up in time and that Dad is on the mend :) Thanks for a wonderful story!

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    1. Thanks, Susanna. And MANY thanks for the inspiring contest.

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  3. This is so touching. I have a number of friends who have that special love for birds through their Dads. Lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Julie. Sadly, there have been fewer purple martins in our area the past few years. Hope they find their way this year. :))

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  4. I'm so glad you wrote about birds! We don't get Purple Martins at our house, though we get a lot of other birds, including various swallows. We have them in our neck of the woods as we see other people's Martin houses. We rely on bats for mosquito control. Thank you for sharing your lovely story!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Teresa. My parents' house had martin houses, but I don't have one here. We're "batty" too.

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  5. A very sweet story. I'm an amateur bird watcher here in California and I'm not familiar with Purple Martins. I will have to look them up.
    And purple's my favorite color. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. The birds are nothing special to look at--members of the swallow family, I think. But their calls and chatter are so much fun to listen to.

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    1. Thanks, Genevieve. Wishing you a happy ending to the weekend.

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  7. Such a touching story! I wish we got purple martins where I live, but I've never seen any.

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    1. When we moved to the UK I felt like a dork. Their "robins" look nothing like what I knew as a robin growing up. It's fun to learn the birds of different areas!

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  8. What a lovely story, Wendy! Families often go through difficult times...it was great to see how the older sister assumed her responsibilities and went the extra mile to carry out what she felt her dad would want done. A hopeful sweet story for spring...or any time.:)

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    1. Thanks, Vivian. We can never have too much hope.

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  9. That's a lovely story, Wendy. I don't think I've seen a purple martin, I'll have to look them up. We get bright cardinals and orioles (is that right spelling?)

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    1. Haven't seen an oriole in years (except on the Baltimore uniforms). Lucky you, Catherine!

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  10. Very moving story. A way to keep Dad in her heart while he's away.

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    1. Thanks, Pat! Glad it connected with you. :)

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  11. I enjoyed learning about purple martins, which are as alien to S Africa as purple Martians! Quite remarkable about the scouts and provided housing, and you have blended it all into a really good story.

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    1. It wasn't until I wrote the story that I got to thinking, what did the purple martins do before people made houses for them? But they're members of the swallow family so I guess it was crevices somewhere.

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  12. Such a sweet story. My dad taught me to love birds.

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    1. Here's to all our parents teach (and have taught)us. Thanks for stopping by, Joanna!

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  13. Educational and sweet...very nice story!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Penny!

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  14. Very touching story Wendy. They're my favorite birdhouses, reminding me more of stately, grand bird hotels. Good luck! :0)

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    1. The houses are beautiful to look at. And the birds all get along, in close quarters. Probably another story there...

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  15. You've tied so many themes together in this short story! Nicely done.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. Nice to hear you liked it.

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  16. Loved it, Wendy :) We are bird watchers here :)

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    1. Hi, Denise! Get back to those birds.

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  17. Wow. Sad, but happy at the same time. I love it. You write AWESOME!

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    1. Wow. That means a lot to me. Thanks, Erik.

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  18. Excellent Story Wendy! loved it completely!

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    1. Glad you stopped by, Nata! You should try Susanna's contests. Writing different styles is like exercising different muscles.

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  19. What fascinating Martin houses. Working together for a common cause is always a good thing to write about...I like the dialogue. Nice job Wendy!

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