Contest RecapMidlife Collage sponsors a weekly contest of midlife short stories. U.S. citizens and legal residents age 40 and older may enter. The Editor selects five stories for publication on our website each week. Readers leave comments and Facebook thumbs-up likes urging the panel of Judges to choose a contest winner. Readers also send the Judges their opinions of the best story on our Closing Arguments page. The contest period is Monday through Sunday noon PT. The first-place story enters the Winner’s Circle and receives a cash prize of $50. Winners of a $50 cash prize are eliglble for a $100 contest, which we run quarterly. See the Submissions Page for the Contest Rules for details. ANYONE, worldwide, age 18 or older can comment on the stories in a contest.
Most people love to go on vacation. I’m not one of them.
My husband John decided he needed and wanted some time away from the daily grind. He was a hardworking letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. I was a reporter for a medium-sized newspaper. I also managed the branch office in the small town I wrote about.
I loved my job. I was on top of ongoing stories as well as any breaking news that required my attention. Taking a week off was almost unthinkable to me. I couldn’t imagine what I would miss.
When a friend told us about a little town in Arkansas, Bull Shoals, where there was a huge lake with crystal clear water, quaint little shops and friendly people, John was intrigued. As winter wound down, he could think about little other than a peaceful respite.
I reluctantly agreed. In addition to work, I was a homebody. I had no desire to travel 500 miles away from home, but I knew John needed a break.
The nine-hour drive was grueling. It seemed to take forever. The roads wound around, up hills and down into valleys.
When we finally arrived, we were amazed at how beautiful this place was. The well-equipped house we rented sat high on a bluff surrounded by woods. It had all the comforts of home. A huge picture window next to the bed framed the water which was smooth as glass. An occasional boat disturbed the mirrored reflection of the forest that reached all the way to the shoreline. No houses were visible to clutter the view. I had never seen so many trees. It appeared as though there wasn’t another soul around for miles. If tranquility was an image, this was it.
The backyard was equipped with patio furniture and a charcoal grill. We made good use of it. Every night we could hear a herd of deer traipsing through the woods, just beyond the backyard clearing. We saw birds of every color. Had we died and gone to heaven?
We had a glorious week. We were sorry to see it end.
We vacationed in Arkansas several more times, but no more. We don’t have to. We live here now—not in Bull Shoals—but not very far away. Retired now, we still think we have died and gone to heaven.