Why I Stopped at a McDonald’s Somewhere in Arkansas

Last Thursday, I was in the middle of an 11-hour drive from Memphis to Austin when I was struck with some very inconvenient inspiration.  I was listening to the following song, and then I couldn’t get the idea for this story out of my head.

Isn’t that a cute song?  Anyway, since I was in the car, by myself, and wasn’t going to be in Austin for another 7 hours or so, this was not exactly the best time for inspiration to strike.  I could have recorded a voice memo on my phone, but I don’t really do a great job of thinking out loud; I think on paper.  So I found an exit with a McDonald’s (I wanted free WiFi so I could finish downloading an audiobook that had malfunctioned somehow), bought a coffee, and wrote this out.

Once upon a time, there was a dandelion growing in a crack in the sidewalk.  The dandelion didn’t particularly mind her place in the crack in the sidewalk, but she could not help looking longingly across the street at the lush garden full of flowers.  She wondered what it would be like to be surrounded by green grass, pink posies, and red roses instead of the cold concrete of the sidewalk.  She was a flower…why couldn’t she be growing the garden?

Even though the sidewalk wasn’t the perfect place for a dandelion to grow, it wasn’t so bad.  There were enough people on it that the dandelion had plenty to keep her entertained, but not so many that she had to worry about being trampled.  She enjoyed watching couples strolling by holding hands, kids zooming past on their bikes, and the old man who walked his two pomeranians every morning.

The dandelion’s favorite person to watch was the dark-haired girl with the pony tail.  While everyone else rushed past in a hurry, the girl with the pony tail would always pause for a moment and smile at the dandelion in the crack of the sidewalk, enjoying the colorful flower in the middle of the dull, gray concrete.

Every year, as spring turned to summer, the dandelion changed also.  Her bright yellow petals gave way to white fluffy seeds, and every year the girl with the pony tail would blow on the dandelion, sending the seeds into the air like tiny white parasols floating on the breeze, and whisper a secret wish.

In the early years, the wishes were simple, if not always practical: a pair of rollerblades, a trip to Disney World, a pony for the backyard.  But as the girl with the pony tail grew, her wishes grew also; she no longer wished for toys or play things, but now she wished for hurt feelings to disappear, for the boy she liked to notice her, for a best friend.

One day, when the girl with the pony tail was almost grown and the dandelion in the crack in the sidewalk still had her yellow petals, the girl walked by with her mother.  The girl with the pony tail was crying!  The dandelion was worried; she had never seen the girl so upset.  The girl and her mother stopped on the sidewalk in front of the dandelion.

“Do you see that garden over there?” asked the mother.

“Yes,” sniffed the girl.

“Now look at this small dandelion in the crack in the sidewalk.”  The girl looked.  “Would you notice the dandelion if it was growing the middle of the garden?”

“Probably not,” the girl with the pony tail replied.

“Exactly,” her mother said. “You notice the dandelion’s beauty because it is surrounded by ugliness.  This is what God does with His people.  He often puts them in dark, difficult places so that others can see His beauty in them more clearly.”

The girl with the pony tail studied the dandelion for a moment, then turned and hugged her mother.  They continued down the sidewalk arm in arm, and the dandelion in the crack in the sidewalk stood up just a little bit straighter.

The End

If I had any artistic ability at all, I’d kind of love to make this into a children’s picture book, but alas, that skill escapes me.

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3 Comments

  1. Lexifayefull

     /  June 10, 2012

    That story made me cry! You are truly an artist!!! I that was a childrens book I would be sure to have it in my collection!!

    Reply

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