Lookout Mountain

Bill's Challenge

Bill Holland has issued a short story challenge, if you haven't already heard...

"A Writing Challenge: Are You Up For It?"

http://hubpages.com/literature/A-Writing-Challenge-Are-You-Up-For-It

Bill asks that you publish on HP, of course, but also email him at holland1145@yahoo.com to let him know - as he doesn't want to accidentally miss an entry.

It's been a great while since I've published anything on Hubpages for a variety of reasons. Bill's challenge stuck a personal chord in me. I also read some great submissions by other writers that have inspired me to throw my net into the waters.

Here goes - hope you enjoy!

Enter Nurse Molly...

Nurse Molly stepped lightly as she performed her nocturnal rounds on the critical coronary care unit.

For the last thirteen years, she cared for patients with acute myocardial infarction and post-operative open-heart patients. Molly could handle anything - one of Walker County's finest nurses.

"I'm not sleeping so good in here, nurse."

"Call me Molly. And what do you like to be called?"

"Sammie. Mrs. C. Up to you, dear."

Night after night Sammie sought out the kind and compassionate Molly. This nurse cared and knew how to listen. At the ripe old age of 83, Sammie didn't trust easily. Molly, she trusted...

At first, Sammie opened up about her early years during the Great Depression - in the 1930s and 1940s. While money was scarce, food was plentiful. Her Momma and Daddy had 189 acres - with vegetables, poultry, livestock, fruit and nut trees all about.

Molly's eyes misted as Sammie shared the simple joys of tasting a ripe Alberta peach picked directly from a tree she had climbed -clearly an unforgettable memory of her childhood.

Days off found Molly thinking of Sammie. While at the Farmer's Market, she was drawn to some beautiful ripe peaches for her Georgia peach back at the hospital.

"You remind me of my daughter. She was thoughtful like that."

"Oohh, let me get that chin of yours - you are dripping peach juice...!"


Source

Lookout Mountain

"Stop fussing over me. Here, let me show you some of my pictures. When I was four years old, our family moved to Lookout Mountain. Our home in Washington, Georgia had burned to the ground."

"Oh, Sammie, you were so young. You must have been frightened out of your wits."


Source

Never did cry much...

"I loved our new home on the mountain - felt surrounded and protected and naïve, looking back. My sister, Catherine, developed diphtheria. She was eight and I was one year her junior. Dr. Wood travelled by train from Washington to treat her. Except he didn't get there on time. Momma and my other sisters were sobbing at the funeral. I stood strong supported by Daddy and Lookout Mountain - amidst a sea of broken hearts."

Source

Charleston bound...

"The summer after graduation, I moved away to find work. I couldn't get far enough away from Lookout Mountain and the ruins that used to be our farm. Momma had become a shell of her former self after Catherine died. Daddy had already moved to Charleston finding a wartime job with the Power Company - came home on weekends whenever possible. I got a job at Western Union as an operator. I also volunteered for the U S O and the Red Cross with some of the girls I lived with at the YWCA."

"I met my Maria's father at the USO. He was a handsome Navy man. We got to know each other for about three weeks before he sailed to England. We tried marriage when he returned home in the summer of 1945. Two years later, the love of my life was my little girl. Andrew moved on - there's a lesson somewhere, I sure never figured out the marriage game."

"Tell me about it, Sammie."

Molly decided the nursing profession would never let her down after her own brief disaster of a marriage. How can Sammie stir up these memories in me? She needed to focus and get ready for a long weekend with her man - a soulful Black Labrador Retriever, named Alvin.

"Miss you, Molly. Time off is good for you. My Maria never took good care of herself. She was always worrying after me."


Until Tuesday

Molly thought she could handle anything. Seeing the empty bed that had been Sammie's reminded her she was all too human.

People come. People go - next stop the morgue, in most cases. Sammie was different. Sammie was unforgettable.

Source

A month later...

Molly was greeted at the nursing station by an enormous basket of juicy Alberta peaches and a note from Sammie's granddaughter when she arrived at work.

In the note, she learned the rest of the story...

Sammie's heart was torn in half when her daughter was fatally shot in a random shooting while walking her dog. Maria was 37 years of age. In one instant, Sammie and Kylie both lost their anchors.

Kylie moved away with her father - eventually becoming a nurse like her mom. Sammie volunteered at the local clinic - her way of keeping Maria's legacy alive.

The letter ended with: "I'll be in town next week. Would have been Nanny's 84th birthday. It'd mean the world if I could meet you, Nurse Molly. We have a mutual angel connection."

Taking a bite of the biggest peach in the basket, Molly proceeded to fill out a leave slip. Lookout Mountain sounded like a slice of heaven.

Life is Like a Mountain Railroad

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27 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia

What a wonderfully written and touching story, Maria. A very impressive contribution to Bill's challenge. Well done.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

What's this? Inspiration Station! No, mar's Desk! No a Hub! Hello Maria - good to see you here. Bill's challenge has brought out the competitive spirit in you.

Your story is full of soulful insight. There is compassion spread from beginning to end. This is a terrific contribution.

Poor Bill.

Where is the 'Like' button.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Maria.......Can I tell you that I'm so glad you added your wonderful talent to the challenge? And that as always, it's an amazing work of art! Nurses are becoming some of my very favorite people, although they've always had a special place in my heart as you know!

I see familiar names and I read a whole lot of "you" in this hub....your writing is as smooth as silk, girl.

I would not want to be bill when it comes time to read and judge!!

Best of luck to you and please come around more often!! Effer


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 months ago from southern USA

Yippie, it's like old times on HP now with your participation in this challenge, Maria! I've missed your writing presence here in HP Town or as you used to say ...Hubville.

What a wonderful cast of familiar characters here in your heartwarming story. Ms. Sammie was blessed to have Molly as her compassionate nurse, and Nurse Molly certainly received a blessing caring for Ms. Sammie coupled with the opportunity of getting a glimpse into Ms. Sammie's life.

This is what makes life so special ...lives touching lives.

Now, I'm craving a good ole Georgia peach.

Love,

Theresa


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 months ago from Nashville Tn.

"Lookout Mountain" is filled with such wonderful characters. To borrow your ending - "Lookout Mountain" is indeed a slice of heaven. But then - look who wrote it!

I'm ready for your next hub Maria.

Love and gratitude for you,

Audrey


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 months ago

I love this Maria, I am thinking this is really a true story, with names changed a bit. You are such a beautiful person.

I have been to Lookout Mountain, the part that is in Alabama. You can see into seven states from the summit.

Please write more hubs.

Blessings and Hugs

Love Shyron


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa

Beautiful story! Our lives are filled with heart-touching stories. I could smell and taste those peaches!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 months ago from Jeffersonville PA Author

Thanks, Jodah - I greatly enjoyed your submission as well.

You make me smile, Mike. Your story was my first read - and you set the bar high.

What a lovely comment, dear Effer - 'smooth as silk' sounds like a desired effect.

I knew you could relate to those juicy peaches, dear Theresa. This challenge has indeed been a wonderful reunion - hoping to see a story from you too. The deadline isn't until the 10th.

Audrey, Your recent poem touched my heart so deeply and reminded me of your unwavering love and compassion - so good to see you.

Shyron, There is plenty of truth in this story with a few heaping helpings of fiction - thanks for such beautiful remarks. I love your poetic entry - a winner!

Martie, It feels nice being back on HP - even nicer when you stop by. As busy as you are, still hoping you add a story with your unique style.

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday. Love and hugs, mar


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

It's so nice to see you back on HP. I've missed you, dear friend, and I'm honored you took up the challenge for your return. Don't stay away so long next time.

As for this story, I'm filing it away to be read after the deadline, but I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking part.

love,

bill


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 months ago from Southern Illinois

The characters in your story were so familiar. Molly, I've known and loved a few. I love your story! It seems like old times here at Hubville when I see you've written a story. Take care and know that you are dearly missed. Hint Hint........


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida

Maria, this is such a heart-warming story. I recognize all the characters, right down to dear Alvin. Your kindness and sharing, keeping Miss Sammie's legacy alive is the epitome of who you are.

So glad you've come back to post this beautiful entry to Bill's challenge.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 months ago from Texas

Maria, leave it to you to write a heart-touching story like this. Compassion and kindness, that's your thing. :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 months ago from southern USA

Thank you, Maria, I have been inspired and actually have a story in my head I hope to bring to fruition. I believe I can make the deadline.

I meant to mention that I've been to Lookout Mountain.

I hope you are enjoying a peaceful Sunday.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 3 months ago from South Carolina

What a touching story and wonderful lead-in. I want to hear more---much more about the trip to Look Out Mountain. Will it be heavenly, as anticipated, or will Molly's life take an unexpected turn?

Thoroughly enjoyed this and it was good seeing you do some fiction again. You have a real flair for it.

Blessings and Love,

Gail


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 months ago from England

Maria, I love your story, such an inspiration! I am glad you decided to come back and join us all again, Nell


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 months ago from Taos, NM

Beautiful and compassionate, Maria. I so enjoyed reading this.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 months ago from Jeffersonville PA Author

Thanks to you, dear Bill for encouraging us all - you are a fine role model for sure.

Ruby, You remind me a lot of Molly and I suspect Sammie would have loved you as much as I do. Thanks for your 'subtle' hints.

Sha, Leave it to you to remember dear Alvin - you are the truest of the blues - thank you so much for your comment.

Thanks, Shannon - 'compassion and kindness' are a great pair to be associated with.

Yeah, Faith! I will look forward to reading your story very much. How cool that you've also been to Lookout Mountain.

Gail, I'd never thought of going further with the story - until now..hmmm! Thanks for your encouragement and kindness.

Nell, You are a doll. Thanks so much. Loved your story as well.

Suzette, Always great to see you. I very much enjoyed your poetic interpretation of this challenge.

Hoping everyone has a wonderful week ahead. Love, mar


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Dear Mar, This story sounds like it might open doors to many more interesting adventures for Nurse Molly. The characters were memorable and I recognize portions of each of them, including dear Alvin.

I truly enjoyed the music selection (something from my own childhood) which has been playing in my head all afternoon. I'm so thrilled that you joined in on the challenge and that your response was here for your many fans to enjoy. It was like home again, seeing all the responses to your story. Loved it.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a touching story, Maria. I recognize the personal connections in it. I'm glad that you've written another hub and have created this lovely contribution to Bill's challenge.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 months ago from Jeffersonville PA Author

Peg, Thank you - I'm not surprised that you recognized my Alvin and other beloved members in my family - with the details mixed with a healthy dose of fiction. Your comment warms my heart.

Alicia, So lovely to see you and this insightful comment - hope all is well.

Hugs to you both, Maria


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 months ago from TEXAS

Dear Maria ~ I do so love your story here! It's genuinely touching and also weaves in so much of your own story and empathy, which makes it the more significant.

I see you replied to Peg, agreeing that your story mixes in real-life details with the fiction, as my 'mountain' challenge offering does, relating some things to my family's history.

We've both also woven in musical selections which fit our stories. I love Patsy Cline. She is a true classic singer and it's a great song. I'll be listening to it again.

Thank you for gracing us with this story.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 3 months ago from New Delhi, India

Beautiful and touching story and full of compassion!

This seems so close to real life characters. Congratulations to you for this excellent contribution to billybuc's challenge.

Have a blessed day!


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Maria, some writers have the knack of verbally painting the portrait of their character, not only physically but emotionally as well, so that the reader actually cares. You have done that in this story with descriptions like this one,

"Momma and my other sisters were sobbing at the funeral. I stood strong supported by Daddy and Lookout Mountain - amidst a sea of broken hearts."

You have showcased your talent very well here.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 months ago from Jeffersonville PA Author

Nellieanna, Your remarks are beautiful. It seems easier when writing from the heart, as I always see in your writing. Love your installment for Bill's challenge.

ChitrangadaSharan, Lovely to meet you. Thanks for your feedback - will look forward to reading your work as well.

cam8510, I'm honored by your remarks as your story had me poised on the edge of my seat.

Wishing you all a lovely and peaceful day. Hugs, Maria


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 3 months ago

Such a beautiful story that painted wonderful picture with words. I like the family emotion that it carries, especially after having listened to my grandmother describing losing her little girl to diphtheria. I visit her grave when I go to the family cemetery.


Emese Fromm profile image

Emese Fromm 2 months ago from The Desert

This is such a beautiful, touching story. I love how it unfolds as we meet these lovely, compassionate characters.

Thank you for posting it, I feel fortunate to have read it.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 months ago from Jeffersonville PA Author

MizBejabbers, I'm honored this story reminded you of your family - thank you for sharing in your lovely comment.

Emese, Thanks for taking the time to stop by and for your kind words.

Wishing you both a great day!

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