Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Entry #14

Losin’ Pa
By Joni Haws


They’d buried Pa only that mornin’, so the dirt wasn’t too hard to dig up. I made Eli help me even though he bawled the whole time, whinin’ ‘bout bein’ scared and how we oughtta leave ‘im be. I cuffed ‘im good and told him to hush ‘fore somebody heard ‘im. Woulda just done it all myself if I though I coulda got Pa to the river alone.

When we got to ‘im, Pa didn’t smell too good, and he looked all puffy, like Mama’s bread ‘fore it bakes. We had a real time gettin’ ‘im outta that hole, he was so heavy. Draggin’ ‘im to the water, Pa’s old boots kept catchin’, makin’ us trip, and my arms felt like they's on fire. But I kept thinkin’ ‘bout Mama all crumpled up like a mess a’ wet laundry, wailin’ like a cat, and I didn’t stop. I had to keep tellin’ Eli to shut up.

We finally got ‘im under, but ‘fore I could get the prayer said I slipped on them wet rocks. Stood up just in time to see Pa floatin’ away. His face looked real white in the moonlight, his head bobbin’ like a apple.

I got real sad then. I ‘membered Mama talkin’ ‘bout bein’ born again, how she got the Spirit when they dunked 'er in that water. Said she was alive in Jesus. Now Pa’d never get ‘is chance. I stood in that freezin’ water and cried just as hard as Eli.

30 comments:

linda said...

Bitter Sweet. Makes you wonder. I like it.

Bonnie Cehovet said...

Interesting thoughts here.

anne frasier said...

oh, wow. this is wonderful, joni. i loved so many things about it. fantasic description and voice. loved this line:

"head bobbin’ like a apple."

among many others.

Jaye Wells said...

Great job, Joni. Strong voice and intriguing story.

robert rohloff said...

Very good job, Joni. Reminded me of the time I, forget it. Good story!

Bernita said...

Excellent, but thought Pa was getting " 'is chance," and that's why they were doing it.

Jim said...

Hah, the mentality of the MC actually reminds me of some people I grew up with (sadly). Really enjoyed this one with its naively innocent MC.

Joni said...

Thanks for the praise, everyone. I appreciate everyone reading and responding.

Anne, I'm so thrilled by your comment.

Jaye, thank you, my new friend.

Bernita, he missed his chance because he floated away and they couldn't catch him.

Jim, This character wasn't difficult to write because I know lot of people like this, too. LOL

Flood said...

I was touched by the naivete of these kids.

Scott said...

I grew up with kids like this myself. Good, believable and realistic dialog. Has a touch of Huck Finn to it.

anna said...

Way too good! believable which is the main thing - the characters acted and spoke correctly.
I loved the dialogue!
great read.

k lawson gilbert said...

Joni, I know this sounds trite...but I just have to say that this was just beautiful in every sense. It is sweetly peculiar in its storyline and that is why I love it. Thank you for this story.

Joni said...

Aww shucks.
Thank you all so much for your positive responses. These comments alone have been enough to make my entering the contest more than worth it. I've not shared a lot my writing, so this gives me a boost. Thanks.

Lisa said...

Terrific voice. The characters leap off the screen. Original descriptions too! wonderful job!

Bhaswati said...

Heartrending story, told in an arresting voice and an endearing POV. Really enjoyed reading this.

Shadowrite said...

Exceptional writing and excellent characterization! I could see the scene vividly.

fringes said...

I'll bet in worked out in the end for Pa anyway, if that's any consolation to the kids.

Kingfisher said...

Spectacular. I think you've got 1st place here.

One helpful criticism: Lose some apostrophes, and spell the words as he would say them. Otherwise, spot on with the dialect.

Happy to lose to you!

R. W. Randall

Bofire said...

Good reading. "His head bobbed like an apple." I like the descriptive.

Joni said...

Again, thanks to all for the kinds words. They mean so much. I am so impressed with all of your pieces!!

Kingfisher - Thanks for the advice. I struggled with that very thing, not sure how to go about it. At one point I took most of the apostrophes out and thought a lot of it looked like a foreign language. It seemed harder to wade through in some places. It kinda seemed sixes to me as far as understandability. I appreciate your opinion.

Nicholas Abbot said...

I have never heard a corpse compared to unbaked bread. It's a great description!

Kelly Parra said...

Joni, what great images and characterization! I really enjoyed this!

Saaleha said...

I loved the dialogue. realistic. Brought lightness to a heavy, depressing tale

Fran Piper said...

Great story, great voice!

I agree with Kingfisher on the apostrophes, but I know (and have also read) that dialect is one of the hardest things to do in dialog, and I think you did it far better than I could have managed it.

I also think there should be a special award for people like you who not only read all the stories, but also commented on most or all of them. Thanks on behalf of all of us!

briliantdonkey said...

wow, disturbing and beautiful as well(if you allow for the misguidedness of the kids)

very nice job!

BD

briliantdonkey said...

forgot to say as well, AWESOME job with the dialouge thanks for the great story.

BD

Joni said...

Thank you again to everyone for coming and commenting. I appreciate those of you who have commented on the dialogue. It was the most challenging part of the piece.

Fran - I read every entry and tried to comment on every one. I love getting comments, so I figured I'd do my part.

Suzanne Smith Karg said...

Joni, an intriguing story w/excellent description!

Amin said...

Joni, I don't think I can add a single word to what everyone else has said, except to say it was a piece of writing that made me know those children and care about them and smile at their innocent hopefulness.

Remarkable.

jason evans said...

I liked the baptism reference at the end. The image of him floating away was strong.