"I am so speechless that I won," said Barnett-Morgan. "I'm still trying to catch my breath about it all."
Barnett-Morgan's nonfiction piece about a 14 year-old girl's experience at her grandmother's Christmas party at a local community center was a clear stand out among the applicants.
"I was so captivated by the fact that this was based on a true story," said Hilddy Posey, one of this month's judges. "It was truly stranger than fiction. You just can't make this stuff up."
When notified of her win, Barnett-Morgan still seemed sensitive about the Mooseville Journal Record's recent apology.
"I admit I was a bit miffed after our issue with the Mooseville Journal Record," Barnett-Morgan said. "But, on a lighter note, I am very pleased to share my story with the beautiful people of Mooseville."
A panel of judges from outside Mooseville selected the winning piece.
"The judges had no knowledge of the author when reading the submissions," said Marsha Clementine, MAC president. "It wasn't until after they had selected Big Granny that we told them Mrs. Barnett-Morgan had written the piece."
Barnett-Morgan won a free print from the Mooseville Art Museum for her efforts.
MAC would like to thank everyone who submitted to this month's contest.
The Madness of Big Granny's Christmas
Based on a True Story
by: Brooke Barnett-Morgan (Contributor)
I looked around and spied Big Granny. She stood in the middle of the room, looking confused. She had on her unique fashion potpourri and was wearing one red shoe and one white shoe. The white shoe had a hole cut in the side to allow her bunion to peek out. She was 86 years old and had lost her taste in clothing, but she was still my favorite.
As I approached her for a hug, I saw that one of her clip-on earrings was turned the wrong way. She looked up and wondered who I was for a moment. Then suddenly she grabbed me around the waist and said, "Oh, it's my favorite grandchild!" We hugged, and as I walked away I heard her pass gas. I giggled. I was used to Granny's wind.
Next, I spotted my great Aunt Mary. Once again she was wearing that old red vest she wore every year since I could remember. It was a velvet-polyester blend that she must have bought in the 60s. I avoided Aunt Mary because that afternoon I had taken a trip to Goodwill and bought a vest just like it. When my cousin, Jennifer saw me wearing it, she fell to the floor laughing, but I don’t think Aunt Mary knew we were making fun of her.
After standing around listening to hunting, fishing, and basketball stories, it was time to partake of the tasty dishes my relatives had spent hours preparing. The long folding table was filled with casserole dishes, macaroni and cheese, turkey, ham, rolls, and other good stuff. Big Granny, being the oldest in the family, served herself first. She made her way down the long table, examining the dishes, picking at every item. She reached the end where there was a drink table with an assortment of beverages. Big Granny couldn't see very well, so she picked up every glass and drank from each until she found the perfect one. She slowly walked away, releasing wind with each step.
During dinner my cousin Marianna suggested the couples play a game. The women would be blindfolded and would have to feel each man's legs until she found the ones that belonged to her husband. Great Aunt Shirley was dating a man with a wooden leg, and Aunt Gina leaned over and whispered to me, "This isn't fair. All Shirley has to do is knock!"
Opening presents was next. In the past I had received some wild things, a gold pocketbook, pink footies, a used candy dish, and a pair of colossal gold earrings. I had no idea what to expect this year. The presents were passed out, and the tag on mine said “From: Big Granny.” I opened it carefully, expecting something to jump out. Instead, I found a Barbie doll from the Dollar Store. It had hinges on its knees and elbows and was wearing neon bell-bottoms and a brilliant orange jacket. I politely thanked Big Granny and focused my attention on what everyone else got.
Big Granny had gotten the men gloves, which they all tried on. When none of them fit, they began to compare. The gloves were all left-handed. Next, Big Granny passed out the sausages. She didn't want to give each family a whole sausage, so she cut them in half and wrapped the cut end in toilet paper. She gave each family their present and left a bonus gift that they wouldn’t smell for another ten seconds.
Finally it was time to go. I wished Uncle Mitch good luck with his basketball career, told Aunt Mary that she had the coolest clothes ever, tried to give Mr. Maney a hug while holding my breath, and gave the greatest 86 year-old woman in the world a big kiss on the cheek. It was over. There wouldn’t be this much excitement in my life again – until next year.