A couple of years back, I entered a writing contest. I wanted to step back from the daily drudge of composing the next epic bestseller and flex my humor muscle. With this is in mind, I decided to enter the 12th Annual Erma Bombeck Writing Competition (put on by the Washington-Centerville Public Library in the USA) which I happened across in one of my myriad researching forays into the Googlesphere. I am a longtime fan of Erma Bombeck who was a famous humorist and newspaper columnist and I thought it would be fun to get into her mode writing. Snorting a line of Erma never hurt anyone.
The contest was for a 450 word (or less) essay in the Human Interest or Humor categories and having produced five of the funniest and sweetest children on the planet, I consider myself an expert on matters of the funny bone.
There were 1350 entries from over 18 countries and all 50 States and nope, I didn't win (the US dominated), but there were 8 Honorable Mentions and although most of them were American as well, there was ONE lone foreigner chosen...and yepper, it was me!
I was thrilled silly! How intoxicating to see your name in print...in the USA...online...and spelled right! I received a certificate in the mail and every time I look at it, I am reminded that somebody besides my family, and people I bribe to compliment me, like what I write.
*Here is my entry and yes, it is a true story:
Where's Your Brother?
Since our family lived on 14 secluded acres outside the town limits of a small Northern community, our children would take the school bus to and from school. Once in a while, there would be nobody home when the bus dropped them off, so a key was hidden for their use.
It was unusual for any of the kids to ride the bus without one or more siblings, but circumstance saw our eldest son Steven dropped off by himself one cold winter afternoon and seeing both vehicles gone from the driveway, he assumed he was completely on his own. He rang the doorbell to make sure and then used the extra key to let himself in the house.
Unbeknown to him, one of the cars was in the shop being serviced and I was actually home, hunkered down and asleep and thoroughly concealed on the big leather couch in the living room that was adjacent to our large, open-air kitchen. Being 7 months pregnant, I was prone to spontaneous naps.
A typical teenager, Steven headed straight for the kitchen and began foraging for food. I groggily awoke to the clatter and without lifting myself up, I spoke out, my voice thick and raspy from sleep, sounding like Linda Blair from The Exorcist, “Where’s your brother?”
A sudden, eerie hush fell over the room and then, after a few moments a cautious rustling of a cookie package cut into the silence. Once again, I croaked out a sleepy, “Where’s your brother?”
The cupboard door slammed shut and a deathly quiet hung in the air. Peering over the couch, I was about to ask my son why he wasn’t answering, when, to my surprise, I saw him backed up against the fridge, his pale white face staring at our cat, Olly, who was sitting and yawning nonchalantly on the floor. Looking up at me, Steven's color returned in full force as he stuttered in obvious relief, “Mom! I thought Olly was talking to me!”
When he had first heard that disembodied voice ask about his brother, he had looked about only to see Olly lying on the kitchen floor, staring up at him thoughtfully. He reasoned that he must have been imagining things and continued his rummaging about when he heard the creepy voice ask for his brother again and he turned to see the cat with her mouth wide open, looking as if she’d just asked the question!
A wise woman once said: Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth. May I add: Never give them the key to the house either.