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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: The Summer of My Discontent
By Nancy Tilson


As I sat on the seat of our large Farmall H tractor gazing out at the haying crew, I plotted the rest of the summer. The men were at the back of our expansive hay field. My brother drove another tractor pulling the hay wagon slowly across the prickly ground while my dad and various neighbors hefted the large bales onto the bed of the wagon.

My eyes settled on one figure in particular. Jim was tall and muscular; a city boy who spent his summers at his aunt’s farm up the road. He was nearing the end of high school; I would be starting in the fall. It was early August and my plans to attract Jim had not gone as I’d hoped.

The girl across the road seemed to have all the nuances down…the batting of eyelashes, the flirtatious giggle, the longing gaze. I thought that behavior ridiculous and knew I’d win him over with my superior intellect or at least my quiet, poised demeanor. However, her strategy seemed to somehow appeal more. Who could fathom the male mind? Hmm, maybe time to tweak the focus just a bit.

The men would be coming in for lunch soon. Time to set a new plan in motion. Should I offer lemonade when he came in? Perhaps talk about Shakespeare? My mind swimming with ideas, I didn’t pay close attention. Poised to jump down, the hem of my shorts caught on the back of the metal seat. I was left swinging in the breeze, suspended, head down, three feet above the parched, cracked and unforgiving dirt.

I tried twisting around to gain a handhold, but that proved futile. I swung my arms to gain momentum only to bang against the metal wheel guard and sustain a deep blue bruise on one arm and then to rebound off the edge of the seat hitting my head. Great! What a time to wear the only good pair of jeans shorts I owned, new and well sown.

“Help?” I offered weakly, unfamiliar with having the syllable roll off my tongue in reference to myself. I was the eldest of six girls, quite capable of giving assistance and generally able to solve dilemmas on my own. Okay, how to handle this one?

“Hi Sue. Watcha’ doin’?” came a little voice below me. “Can I play too?”

“Not right now, Lizzie,” I grunted. “Can you find Mom and ask her to come here for a minute?”

“I can’t. Mom said to find you ’cuz she’s busy fixin’ lunch. Why can’t I swing too? That looks like fun.” I recognized the edge of a whine creeping into her four year old voice.

“Where are Lillie and Betsy? Can you please run and get one or both of them?” I asked trying to keep my voice even. “We’ll play later.”

“But I want to swing now! Sue, pleeeease?” The whine was more pronounced, her aptitude for patience not well developed.

I heard the growl of the field tractor grow louder; knew that the trailer had been nearly full even as the men’s stomachs grew empty. Wouldn’t this make a lasting, and disagreeable impression on my target if I remained in my current position?

I began to bounce my weight against the restraint of the denim; felt and heard the now reassuring rip of fabric as I dropped a little. But no, no release.

Now blood rushing to my head competed with the roar of the oncoming engine. “Please, Lord, help release me from this embarrassing and unenviable position.”

“Sue, I SAID I want to play too!” Now the whine was a tear-filled cry. “I’m gonna’ tell Mom you won’t let me play with you!” As she ran off, sure she would gain Mom’s support I smiled, thankful that I’d been heard by my Support.

At that moment, I felt the denim rend through and I thudded to the ground, landing with the resounding crack of my right wrist absorbing most of my body weight. I sat up cradling my arm as the tractor ground to a halt beside me.

“Are you all right? How did you get hurt?” Jim’s deep blue eyes looked into mine, concern written there. “Are you in a lot of pain? That arm’s broken for sure.”

I started to say, “Oh, it’s nothing!”, when I realized my ‘good’ fortune. I moaned softly…and my summer started to look a whole lot more promising.

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This article has been read 449 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Manley07/17/09
Wonderful, image-filled story! I've been reading and leaving as many comments as possible. I am learning so much by doing so. Your story was an absolute delight! Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you, Laura
Seema Bagai 07/19/09
An entertaining story. Good writing in this piece.
diana kay07/23/09
congratulations! I did not get to read this peice before as there were so many in beginners.Now I have read through I can see A well deserved win!
Deborah Porter 07/23/09
Hi Nancy. I just wanted to leave a quick note to congratulate you on your 2nd place win in Level 1, and to let you know you also did extremely well overall, ranking 35th out of all the entries for the week. Well done! Time to move up to Level 2.

If you would like to see the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards. Congratulations again.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Tumisang Ramasu07/27/09
Wow, that is really good. You described that moment so well I was taken by it. Well done!