• [From Linda Hanna] An Evening in Paris

    People always ask when I first became interested in writing. That’s an easy question for me to answer. It was just after Easter when I was four-years-old. Mom worked in a hospital and my preacher dad became my evening caregiver. This meant long hours of trying to entertain myself while he prepared sermons or studied.

    Usually, this was no big deal. I was a quiet child could roll with the punches. However, I thought I’d go stir crazy when he dragged me to the library at a local Christian college with strict orders to not make a sound.

    That library didn’t have a kid section, so Dad bought me a Little Golden Book. Bless his heart, he meant well, but it was Flash Gordon, an older boy’s book. There weren’t any cute baby animal pictures or anything else of interest to a little girl who loved fancy tea parties and dollies.

    Instead, it had action pictures of an airplane landing on the Amazon River, people running through a dense jungle to get away from flying spears, and scary snakes hanging from trees.

    I couldn’t read, yet, so I studied those pictures for weeks and made up my own gentler versions of the story. However, a four-year-old can only dream up so many plots about dangling tree snakes. I decided things would be different for the next library excursion.

    I packed my new Easter purse with white Easter gloves, a lacy hanky, a pen, and small tablet. Then that special, secret addition – a brand new bottle of Mom’s Evening in Paris cologne. It wasn’t going to serve any purpose, except that I knew it was there and it made me feel grown up. Later that week as we headed to the college, I hugged my purse and grinned to myself. Farewell, Flash. Adios, Amazon.

    But Dad threw me a curve ball. He ushered me into a completely different building. This classroom was hot and stuffy with the distinct licorice scent of Sen-Sens mixed with mothballs. Several men sat in a large circle of wooden folding chairs. Naturally, I was the only child there.

    One by one, they prayed l-o-n-g pastoral prayers. I had no idea of what their big, fancy words meant. I just knew it was time to dig into my stash of supplies.

    Out came the lace-edged handkerchief to make twins in a cradle and other ‘hanky origami’ projects!

    As luck would have it, the man on my right had a major case of B.O. and breath that could drop a rhinoceros at fifty paces. Being this take-charge woman, I quickly evaluated the situation and devised a brilliant plan. If I dabbed a little perfume onto my hanky and held it up to my nose, it might hide George’s disgusting odor.

    If that failed, the hanky twins could always be crammed up my nostrils.

    I quickly made a visual sweep of the praying preachers to be sure all heads were bowed and eyes closed, and leaned over to retrieve my bag. Out came the Evening in Paris. I carefully removed the silver cap, and tipped the bottle onto my hanky. It was strong stuff, so just a tiny drop would do . . . perfect!

    Then, it happened. Somehow that full bottle slipped from my hand, and landed in my purse, drenching everything inside. A nauseating stench permeated the entire room and mixed with George’s stench. I thought I was going to puke.

    Wooden chairs scraped across the floor as those men scattered. Prayer meeting was over just like that. I was a sobbing mess. Dad never said one word. He simply lifted me into his arms and carried me to the car, still clutching my dripping purse.

    Dad never took me back to that preacher’s prayer group, but unfortunately, he never hesitated to drag me to the boring college library. Know what? After that stinky experience, I was content to make up stories about Flash and the gang. I’ve been writing stories ever since.

    Do you remember when you got the writing bug?

    Linda Hanna


    Linda Hanna

    Linda Hanna and Deborah J. Dulworth’s first novel, Reflections of a Stranger, was a cozy mystery published by Harbourlight Books in 2012.
    As freelance writers, they have jointly and individually written magazine articles and devotionals. Debbie and Linda love to share an uplifting message of faith, family, and love within the framework of lighthearted novels. In addition to entertaining through these stories, they hope to inspire and encourage readers on their own spiritual journey.


    Deborah Dulworth

    Linda and Debbie are well-known for their humor, word play, and unpredictable plot twists. The two always find themselves writing poems, songs, and stories with a funny plotline and quirky characters. For seventeen years the ladies were co-directors for a high-spirited senior adult ministry within their church denomination. This venture presented many entertaining examples of said quirky characters.

    They’ve led many workshops, spoken at woman’s retreats, teas, sororities, various church functions, and book signings. They have been members of ACFW critique groups for years and are active in a local writing group.

    Though the past several years have taken some unexpected twists and turns, Debbie and Linda cling unswerving to their faith – and God continues to prove Himself worthy as He works in their lives.

    Learn more about Linda & Deb at their website: dulworthandhanna.wordpress.com

    HannaDulworth-2PromiseofSpringThe Promise of Spring

    Releases 11.1.17

    Will they walk away from love or learn to trust?

    Millie Drake’s mind drifts between hard-knock reality and starry-eyed fantasy as she tries to keep her six-month romance with Lou Blythe from her dysfunctional mother. Her mother, Penny, expects more for Millie than a shy, knuckle-cracking, computer geek with a mangy, germ-carrying dog. When the couple’s secret comes out, Penny works overtime to sabotage their odious relationship.



3 Responsesso far.

  1. I laughed out loud!! Every little girl our age has smelled Evening in Paris. When the preachers scattered, I belly laughed. Great story!!

  2. lelandandbecky says:

    Both my husband and I broke out laughing over this story! Why am I not surprised, because I often laughed while reading their books! I’m so glad that I stopped by to read this wonderful story!

  3. I would often play on my aunt’s dresser which had a glass insert between the 2 wooden ends. My aunt had her bottles on this glass area. One of them was Evening in Paris perfume bottle which smelled wonderful! But these bottles became people and the glass was a stage with the 2 wooden ends being the offstage areas.I would play quietly for hours here. My aunt said it was okay but not to break the glass. I never did. Your story brought back this memory. Thanks for sharing!

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