This week we welcome Loree Lough to Author Memories.
by Loree Lough
Summers found us sprinkler hopping, hop-scotch scribbling, and riding bikes in the empty school parking lot. After dark, it took some serious concentration to win Statues and Hide-and-seek, because it wasn't easy, standing still and keeping quiet while swatting mosquitoes!
The summer when I was ten, a pretty little redhead moved into the house on the corner. Her parents and older siblings called her Shoog…and it was Shoog who introduced us to a whole new way to spend our summer days: Picking apples in her grandfather's orchard.
Back on familiar turf, we scattered to show our moms the shiny coins we'd earned. After wolfing down bologna or PB&J sandwiches, we took up our customary positions under the big tree in Marty's front yard, playing Telephone and I'm Thinking of a Number Between while listening for the tell-tale jingle of the ice cream man's bicycle. All except for Shoog, that is. While we lapped melting vanilla from our fingers, she was inside, resting up from the morning outing.
It was a sweltering Friday in August when, while gnawing that last bite of chocolate from my frozen treat, I got a bright idea: If we all went home and searched for loose change in our sofas, we'd have enough to buy an ice cream for Shoog on Monday! The kids agreed, but their moms had other plans: Sammy got stuck mowing the lawn and it was Clara's turn to fold the laundry. Bed-making, dishwashing, furniture-dusting and sibling-sitting took precedence over cushion diving. Miraculously, we managed to get our chores finished and collect enough to buy a cold treat for our frail friend.
On Monday, we assembled at the end of her driveway to wait for Gramps' truck, and struck an oath not to tell Shoog about the surprise we'd deliver to her front door when he brought us home again. Ten minutes passed, then twenty. It wasn't like Gramps to be late. Gary, the oldest and bravest of us knocked on Shoog's front door…
…and some nice lady we'd never seen before said "Sorry, kids; Shoog died last night."
Thanks to our mothers' real version of Telephone, we learned that her real name was Grace, and that if she'd lived, Grace would have turned eleven that following Friday. Diagnosed with the horrible disease at the tender age of eight, she remained her sweet, uncomplaining self, no matter what tests or treatments the doctors threw at her, inspiring the nickname that stuck.
Tiny and quiet and delicate, Shoog made a bigger and more lasting impression on me than just about anyone I can name. To this day, I wish I'd thought of a way to get closer to her while I had the chance, that I'd come up with the "let's buy her a treat" at the start of summer, that after returning home from a day in her grandfather's orchard, I'd rushed through my chores for no reason other than to spend a little time with her.
They called her Shoog…but her birth name was well-chosen, for she epitomized grace.
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to be entered in a draw for one book in Loree's First Responder series.
Winner's choice of:
Book 1 - From Ashes To Honor
Book 2 - Honor Redeemed
Then a jumbo jet crashes onto a major highway at rush hour, and puts them face to face at the grisly scene--and forces Matt and Honor to reconsider the reasons they've been avoiding love. Even amid their blossoming relationship, it's hard for Honor to let go of haunting memories. Matt is still struggling with those issues when he hears that Honor has disappeared during a dangerous rescue effort.
He leads the search team, desperate to find her before a blizzard moves in. But even if he does, will they find their way back to one another...or go back to living alone?
Book 1 - From Ashes to Honor, Aug 2011
Book 2 - Honor Redeemed, Feb 2012
Book 3 - A Man of Honor, release date TBA
You can find Loree online at these sites:
Christian Fiction Online Magazine:
Loree is a featured columnist ("Loree's Lough Down").