Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Short Story - The Cost of Freedom

Here is a short story I submitted to faithwriters. It probably is not any good but I just feel compelled to remember what price we've paid for freedom and to not take it forgranted. By the way, I had a southern accent in my head when I wrote it;)

The Cost of Freedom

I will remember that hot day in the summer of 1944.

I could see a cloud of dust half a mile away as I stepped out on the front porch to get some fresh air. I covered my face from the afternoon sun and strained my eyes to try and make out this unexpected visitor.

Ruth, my daughter in law, came round the side yard with Tommy, my grandson. She too had noticed the approaching vehicle and a mixture of tension and curiosity furrowed her smooth brow.

“Who do you suppose is comin’ up to the house today?” Ruth joined me on the porch and Tommy grabbed onto my dusty apron wanting me to pick him up.

“I dunno, but we best are hopeful.” I knew what Ruth was thinking. I knew because I was thinking something similar. For John Robert, her husband and my son, was fighting in a war halfway across the world and there we were anticipating word each and every day. He left for the army the day after Christmas and hadn’t yet seen his baby son toddle about.

Ruth took Tommy and settled down in one of the rockers. “The longer John is gone, the more anxious I find myself when I see a car coming up the road.”

“Let’s just pray that he’s safe.” My feelings were mixed as I tried to pass on a hope I myself fought to possess.

John Robert had grown up on this farm which I now shared with Ruth and my grandbaby. He’d been our only child born alive and every day I treasured the gift he was. I could still see him now, my little boy swinging in the maple tree, running through the fields of knee high grass.
He grew to be a fine young man, strong and polite, helping his father on the farm, first when he arrived home from school each day, and when his father’s heart started growing weak, he quit school altogether and took over providing for our family.

When he joined the army it was a proud moment for me and I’m thankful to the Lord that John Robert Sr. stayed alive long enough to know that his son would serve our country, fighting for the freedom and Christian values we hold dear.

The car got closer and I saw the familiar wave of the Reverend Peter Stone, come to check on this widow. I sensed Ruth’s heart leap in her chest and she offered to make some iced tea, handing Tommy to my willing arms. I suspected there’d be some tears mixed in with the iced tea and sugar, but that was understandable. Ruth kept a brave face over such a sensitive young soul.

“Good day Miss Emily.” His warm smile reassured me further. “How are you surviving this heat?”

“Just fine Reverend. Won’t you join me for some iced tea?”

“Thank you Ma’am, I believe I will.” Ruth returned with glasses and I offered the reverend a place to sit down.

“You heard any news from the war?” I did my best to sound casual and polite.

“Yes Ma’am, I’ve heard things have taken a turn in our favor. I hear the end is in sight.” The Reverend took a long drink of his tear speckled tea. He paused and looked thoughtfully at us both. “Now I know you want to hear news of your boy. You just keep hoping and we’ll all keep praying.”

That night I sobbed into my pillow. I cried for my son, growing up and seeing terrible dangers that I could not imagine myself. I cried for the many soldiers who’d lost their lives, giving the ultimate sacrifice for the good of our world. I cried for the mothers and fathers who grieved so deeply but most of all my tears were for the young wives, like my dear Ruth, whose sacrifice hid politely behind a brave smile; She had sacrificed a comfortable life, meat on the table and the truth of it was she had sacrificed her future. She had sacrificed her dreams.

Later I learned that the turning point was when the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives that day. Young men, sons, brothers and brand new fathers, all serving our great nation.

Never would I forget that day. Never would I forget the great cost of our beloved freedom.


Megan said...

I think it's a great short story! I hope they publish it! =)

Christabelle said...

You are such a clear and concise writer! I admire it much for I struggle greatly with not letting my thoughts mingle. I hope it places!

Dejah said...

Can't wait to read it again in Faithwriters. :o)I had fun using a southern accent when reading it.


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