Monday, 30 April 2012

April A-Z blogging challenge 2012 Z is for Zest


April A-Z blogging challenge 2012
Z is the ultimate letter in this sequence of 26 short stories of 250 words or fewer. This final story is just a little longer – 385 words. All the stories are about the life and times of a fictional character called Alice.


Alice shepherded everyone into the sitting room. It was a tight squeeze but everyone found a seat. The granddaughters sat on the floor while their babies and toddlers played around them.

The last time the whole family had gathered was for Norman’s funeral three years previously. Alice’s 85th birthday made a good excuse to meet under happier circumstances. Emily and her family had travelled from Paris the previous day. Alice didn’t see them very often though she did occasionally travel by Eurostar to visit them. Rebecca’s children lived in and around London and she  saw them more frequently, though they were very busy – no-one could live in London and not be busy, she thought. It was Ted’s family she saw most – they all lived nearby – and of course, Ruth was a regular visitor.

While Alice played with her great-grandchildren her daughters organised tea. Afterwards she unwrapped a mound of gaily-wrapped gifts and was touched by the thought that had gone into them – National Trust membership, a subscription to a favourite magazine, gardening and book tokens, a large print of one of her favourite photographs, a voucher for a spa day. Then Rebecca’s husband gave her a DVD and urged her to play it for all of them. He had compiled it from family photographs and video recordings and set it to music.

Alice’s life unfolded before her. Monochrome gave way to colour and she thought that was a fine allegory for life. There were her parents and her three strong brothers. What fine young men they had been. Here was Norman, smiling into the camera, looking ridiculously young and so proud on their wedding day. She watched her babies grow into toddlers and then into young adults with babies of their own. The final photograph was of all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including the youngest, four-month-old Rosie.

Everyone clapped and cheered and Ted produced a bottle of champagne with a reassurance that there were another two in the fridge so there would be plenty for everybody. They drank Alice’s health and commended her zest for life. She nodded and smiled, quite overcome.

Later, after everyone had left, Alice watched her DVD again, pausing it now and then to study an image more closely. ‘What a wonderful gift,’ she thought. ‘Photographs hold the greatest memories.’















17 comments:

  1. Oh Janice, what a wonderful ending to the a-z challenge. I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful gift of the dvd. And such a happy ending. Thank you.

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  2. Aww, that was the perfect ending to the story! Congrats on making it to the end of the A-Z Challenge, I've loved reading Alice's story!

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  3. This has been a remarkable journey and such a fitting ending.

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  4. A wonderful ending to the story. Well done.

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  5. Amazing tale. Love! Congratulations on reaching your ZEST! :)

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  6. Lovely story. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

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  7. Wonderful ending to this month's story, Janice. Indeed photographs do provide wonderful memories. So glad Alice' family had a get-together for her 85th birthday.

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  8. Super ending, made me tear up. My husband made one of those videos for my late mom. You are certainly a wonderful writer.

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  9. I love the part about the photos going from black and white to color. Nice detail.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  10. You ended this beautifully. I feel like I got to know Alice. She seems delightfully real.

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  11. Congrats on making it to the end! Glad Alice didn't die in the conclusion. That would have been sad!

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  12. A wonderful gift, just like this story is to us. Thank you Janice, I enjoyed reading it very much and your writing flows beautifully.

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  13. I'm happy that Alice is blessed with a loving family. That DVD sounds great!

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  14. A wonderful ending to the story alphabet. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

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  15. Hi Janice .. that was such a gentle ride with the ABC family .. and I loved the way you finished it off - just a great last chapter.

    The telling of a family in 26 episodes - brilliantly done .. good for you .. loved it.

    Cheers Hilary

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