Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas . . .

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Last Thursday my brand new seventh grade son came home literally bursting with news. "We're doing a fundraiser at school and there's cool prizes, Mom," he said. "All I have to do is get ten orders." (The fundraiser was selling magazines, cards, and gift wrap.) He was so enthusiastic about it, immediately starting out the door to ask our neighbors if they were interested. In his mind he would have the required ten orders in no time because who doesn't love magazines? He came home about a half an hour later, his excitement dampened but not fizzled. Two people had turned him down and two had made orders. Not bad he said. He'd gone to a few other houses who'd ordered from his brother and sister when they had done this before, but they weren't home. He told me he would finish his chores and homework and go back to their houses afterward. That's always how he is. If there's work to be done, he's the one who will do it without being asked. He's loving, kind, funny, and a little shy, but basically a great kid. I've always had a little soft spot for him because he almost died the day he was born, he had RSV three times, salmonella once and was hit by a car all before he was five, so my heart has a lot of love for this little guy.

So there he is, done with his homework and chores, and he waved goodbye as he headed out to go and see if those people were home yet and would order magazines from him. "Bye, Mom," he said as he left with a big smile on his face.

Almost an hour and a half later, he walked in sweaty from the hot sun and by the look on his face I could tell it wasn't good news. "What happened?" I asked.

"You won't believe it," he said, as he sat down on the couch, "the new kid Adam already got everyone!" He put his head in his hands and I put my arm around him. "And I mean everyone."

"I'll still order," I said, still trying to comfort him.

"But that's only three orders, I need ten," he mumbled, his head still in his hands. So I drove him down to our doctor's office and dentist office, but they turned him down because they get them for free. (Who knew?) We called some close friends and family and only got one more order. My heart sank because I knew how hard he'd worked and clearly the prize was seeming more and more out of reach. He was pretty dejected, and then he looked over with his sweet face and said the words I'd been dreading. "Isn't there anyone else we could ask? Do you have any other friends?"

I hate asking friends to order things, buy things, or sell them things. It's like trading on a friendship or something. But here is my son, who has trudged around, worked hard, been rejected, and he's looking at me like his last hope---hoping I have friends we can ask. I paste on a smile and tell him sure I have friends I can ask. I swallowed my pride and I went to the computer. I made out an e-mail to a bunch of author friends that I have and some friends who read fiction and discuss it over on LDS Fiction Readers and I sent it out. They could delete it if they didn't want it, I rationalized. That's the beauty of e-mail. Then we waited. I tried to soften the blow for him in case no one was interested, telling him that I was proud of him for trying, that four orders was pretty good, and of course if all else fails he should definitely call Grandma one more time.

Well, in two days we'd received the ten orders from my author friends and that was enough for him to win a small cash prize, a limo ride with friends, a 300 hour game card, early lunch and free pop every day for two weeks, a flying monkey, and candy. Not to mention that his name went into a drawing for the grand prize, a "Cool Room" that any teen would want to have. He was so excited to go to school yesterday, it was almost tangible. Like he knew something good was about to happen. And it did.

Yesterday morning they were announcing all the winners and it was finally time for the grand prize. He could hear the paper rustling on the intercom, there's a deep breath and then the lady says, "And the Grand Prize Cool Room goes to . . .Jared . . . she lets out a breath . . .Bellon!" The room explodes in applause and groans and two girls push him to the door to meet his escort who escorts him to the office to collect his prize. It was delivered to our home yesterday afternoon and I couldn't believe it. They brought in box after box. He won a stereo, a mini-refrigerator, a six foot bendable neon light, a dancing chicken, a wall of uncut $1 bills, and a plasma clock. Amazing. Just looking at his face I could see how happy he was as he shared his good fortune with his brothers and sister who were squeezing that dancing chicken for the millionth time. It was like Christmas with gifts and wrapping paper littering our front room and excited kids everywhere.

So today, as I hear the dancing chicken song one more time, I want to thank all my author friends who ordered magazines. Thank you for ordering magazines from a seventh grade boy who was excited about his first fundraiser. Thank you for caring and for helping us out. You made his year! And every time I hear that dancing chicken I'll think of you all again. His room is now re-decorated and "cool." Just like you guys!


At 9/14/2006 1:48 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

What a cool story, Julie! And who deserves all that loot more than your sweet guy?

Marsha Ward
Writer in the Pines

At 9/14/2006 2:20 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

That's such great news, Julie. Give him my congratulations would you? And let him know if he ever needs a sales job after school to come my way.

I know what you mean about certain kids. My of my little guys who is eight now has fallen into an open pit fire, very nearly drowned, and numerous other issues. But he has the biggest heart in the world. You really hope the world will bless guys like that.

At 9/14/2006 3:13 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Crap! I didn't order and now I feel like a cad.

At 9/14/2006 3:50 PM, Blogger FHL said...

I want a flying monkey!

At 9/14/2006 7:43 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

fhl--it's awesome! The flying monkey makes does this freaky laugh when he flies that totally scared my youngest son. Too funny.

Jeff--I'll tell him, thanks!

At 9/15/2006 2:23 PM, Blogger ellen said...

That's a great story! He'll remember that experience forever.


Post a Comment

<< Home