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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

TITLE: Drownding Out Squirrels
By Sheri Gordon


Of all the chores we hafta do on the farm, drownding out squirrels is the worst. I donít like pluckiní chickens much either, but at least I donít get hurt none.

Today Papa says all of us kids, me aní Ruth aní Earl aní Alice, hafta go squirrel huntinĎ. He says thereís too many squirrel holes in the pastures, and the cows and horses is steppiní in Ďem and gettiní hurt. Last time we drownded out squirrels, I was the one who got hurt. Mama says I need to be more careful, but she donít know what really happened. Earl donít want me to tell her neither, and Alice sat on me until I promised not to.

ĎSides, Papa pays us one cent for the small squirrels and five cents for the bigguns, and I donít want Mama to tell me I canít go. Sometimes we get ten or even twelve cents in one day. We donít get paid nothiní for pluckiní chickens. And Mama says we can go to the general store with her tomorrow iffin we got money to spend. I usually get me two licorice sticks for a penny, but Iíve been saviní my pennies, and this time Iím gonna choose a brand new hair ribbon. It costs three cents, but I donít care, Ďcause itís gonna make me look real purty.

Drownding out squirrels is hard work. First, we hafta get water to the holes. Papa let us have part of an old buggy, just the four wheels, and Earl fixed a board on top to set the big cans on for water. Thereís a rope fastened to the two front wheels so we can pull it. It takes all four of us a pulliní on it when itís loaded with three or four cans of water.

(Earl likes to brag that he invented the water cart, but it was really Aliceís idea. SheĎs the smartest one. And the bossiest one. Just Ďcause sheís the oldest, she thinks she can tell us all what to do.)

On squirreliní day, we pull our load over the pasture until we find a squirrel hole. Then we start pouring water in the hole to make the squirrel come out. Thatís why we call it drownding out squirrels. When the squirrel comes outta the hole, we hit it with a big stick, or smack it with a hoe or shovel. Earl likes to shoot rocks at it with his sling shot. Heís purty good at that. Papa donít let us take his gun no more since Ruth almost shot herself in the foot. She werenít hurt none, and Papa wouldnít have never known, except Ruth got to holleriní so much Papa came a runniní from the cornfield. He said he was sure a rattlesnake done bit her.

The bad part of squirreliní comes when thereís more than one hole. Then the squirrel donít hafta come outta the hole we filled with water. He can escape outta another hole, so we hafta guard all the holes. Because Iím the youngest, they make me sit on the other hole to keep the squirrel from escapinĎ. They say itís because they can pour water down the hole faster than I can. I donít think thatís true. I think itís Ďcause Iím the littlest, and I hafta do what they say.

Last time, while I was sittiní over the hole, the squirrel started biting my bottom, and I started to cry.

Earl says to me, ďWhatís wrong with you, Blanche? Stop yer belly-achiní.Ē

And I says, ďI canít. Heís biting me.Ē

Then I jumped up and out ran the squirrel. I got a good scolding from Earl for letting a big squirrel get away. He says itís my fault we lost out on five cents.

This time I got more smarts. Iím carryiní a bucket with me and Iím going to put the bucket on the hole first and then sit on the bucket. My mama didnít raise no dimwit.

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This article has been read 948 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Esther Gellert05/10/07
This was delightful to read. I could just hear the childish voice telling it.
That last bit... I loved it. It made me laugh.
Benjamin Graber05/11/07
This one is delightful... You had me laughing, and intrigued by the process as well! :-)
Cheri Hardaway 05/11/07
If this one doesn't win, I'll be incredibly surprised! This is a wonderful piece. The dialog is perfect; makes me think that little gal is sitting right there telling me the tale. I had to read it out loud. Wonderful, wonderful. Excellent work! I can't say it enough! Blessings, Cheri
Jacquelyn Horne05/12/07
Very good story. I never heard of "drownding" squirrels, but I never lived on a farm neither. Liked the little girls spunk.
Lisa Holloway05/12/07
The writing was good, and very like a child talking. The process described bothered me, though, and seemed kind of cruel.
Terry R A Eissfeldt 05/14/07
Fun and well written. I agree - reading out loud is the best! Good story - thanks
Patty Wysong05/14/07
Wonderful! What a fun read! You caught the dialect and the action and the voice is great. Good job!! :-)
dub W05/14/07
Absolutely delightful, a winner all the way. A fun read, that had me smiling the entire time - loved the voice.
LaNaye Perkins05/14/07
I loved the voice and speech patterns of the little girl. Great job!
Joanne Sher 05/14/07
Love the voice and the dialect and the story! What fun - I enjoyed everything about this.
Jan Ackerson 05/14/07
You already know how I feel about this piece--utterly captivating and delightful.
Mo 05/14/07
Great voice.
Dara Sorensen05/16/07
I love it! I love the voice--it definitely drew me in!
T. F. Chezum05/16/07
Very well written and fun story. Great job.
Mariane Holbrook 05/16/07
This had to be fun to write because it was so much fun to read! You did such a good job being faithful to the speech patterns you began with that I'll be very surprised if you don't win one of the three top slots. You are very, very deserving with such a delightful piece. Kudos.
Rita Garcia05/16/07
Delightful, I really enjoyed the read! Great writing!
Cassie Memmer05/16/07
Fantastic, entertaining. Love the dimwit! LOL! Love the dialogue. A very enjoyable, fun read!
Sara Harricharan 05/16/07
I love the MC! What an adorable character! The last line was really a hoot though. Good job!
Betty Castleberry05/16/07
This piece has a great voice. I have to tell you, though, I was a little disturbed by the thought of drowning the squirrels. That doesn't take away from the fact that this is great writing. Well done.
Pam Carlson-Hetland05/16/07
Excellent. You'll be moving on soon.
Sharlyn Guthrie05/16/07
This is priceless...especiallyh the last line. What a fun one to read!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/18/07
I loved your humorous story and the wonderful little girl you created!