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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)

TITLE: Charlie -- The Town Hero
By Rita Garcia


Growing up in a small town has its advantages. My brother Christopher and I lived with our grandma and grandpa Walters. Oh, and by the way, I’m Juliana. We knew all our neighbors by name including their pets. Sometimes the neighborhood pets were the best friends of all, especially Mrs. Brimlie’s dog Charlie. No one knew what kind of a dog Charlie was; we just knew he was one of a kind.

Charlie was a friendly neighbor; he made daily visits to everyone. He always enjoyed sharing a bite of food here and there. His daily visits included the children, the elderly, and often spent the day sitting with someone who was feeling sad. Charlie was just a very nice soul that happened to be inside a fur coat. Everyone had a story to tell about Charlie; he was always helping someone.

Each Sunday morning Charlie waited outside the church while Mrs. Brimlie attended service; I’m surprised he didn’t come right on inside. One spectacular spring day after service the whole town gathered down by Lodge Pole Creek for a big picnic. It was actually a church picnic, but everyone went whether they attended church or not. There was not much excitement in our small town, so you can clearly see a picnic was a major event. Everyone attended including Charlie.

A game of horseshoes was set up, the baseball diamond staked out, and several Frisbees ready for flight in honor of Charlie. Several large wooden tables were covered with food. It was a splendid picnic. I remember it like it was yesterday although more than twenty years have past.

My brother and I ran ahead and picked a spot under a big tree to spread out our picnic-blanket, the perfect place for our grandparents to relax and enjoy watching all the fun. We filled our plates set on our blanket visiting with people as they came by. It was time for the games to begin.

“Grandma, can we go play now?” My brother and I spoke at the same time.

A lively game of horseshoes started using rubber horseshoes. Charlie was so excited; he loved running in the middle of the game and catching the horseshoes in midair. You see, Charlie was a big dog weighing almost 70 pounds. I guess those playing the game didn’t appreciate Charlie’s antics as much as the spectators.

The players began shouting, “Do something with this dog.”

The children called Charlie over for a Frisbee chase; Charlie loved catching Frisbees even more than horseshoes. In between games Charlie found time to visit with all his friends. He loved everyone, especially the children.

The adults were resting, full from eating and watching the children running and playing hide-n-seek.

All of a sudden the children were yelling. “HELP!! HELP!!”

One of the little ones wondered too close to the creek and fell in. Guess who got there first—of course, Charlie. He jumped right in, grabbed hold of little Tommy’s shirt, and pulled him to safety. Charlie was our hero.

This started a round of stories about our hero. Mr. Topple told how Charlie comes by exactly at ten o’clock every morning to help him wait for the mail. Mr. Topple’s son moved to the big city; news of how he’s doing was the highlight of Mr. Topple’s week. Charlie quietly set worrying right along side Mr. Topple. When the much looked for letter would show up Mr. Topple always read it to Charlie first. His son made sure to send a big hug to Charlie. Mr. Topple would give him a treat and Charlie would be on his way.

My brother and I took turns telling about the time Charlie was playing a game of Frisbee with us after school. The Frisbee landed in the big oak tree in our front yard. We tried but couldn’t get it down. Charlie put his big paws on the trunk of the tree and began barking. He was so large it caused the Frisbee to come flying down and, of course, Charlie caught it. Each story had to top the other, but they were all basically true.

Mrs. Brimlie feeling sentimental, said, “You know Charlie doesn’t really belong to me, he belongs to the whole town, and that is fine with me.”

Charlie barked, wagging his tail. Charlie did belong to the whole town.

Charlie—a big golden dog that everyone loved.

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This article has been read 953 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/08/07
We had a Charlie in our neighborhood; only her name was Maggie! I can see this as a story for fifth or sixth graders that the kids would enjoy reading and then writing a story about a pet of their own or one in the neighborhood. They love pet stories. You told the stories well. I could see Charlie in his various games and rescues.
Joanne Sher 06/10/07
Fun story - this felt like it was just right for upper elementary. Nice job!
Betty Castleberry06/11/07
I love the Charlies of the world. This is my favorite line:
"Charlie was just a very nice soul that happened to be inside a fur coat." YOu show a lot of insight with this statement.
Just one little nit picky thing. You used "wondered" when I think you might have meant "wandered."
That's very minor, though, and doesn't detract from this very sweet story. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 06/11/07
This one begs for illustrations!

For a children's story, I'd replace semicolons with periods, and perhaps shorten a few of the longer paragraphs. Minor details--this story is exactly the sort of thing children love.
Myrna Noyes06/11/07
Makes me wish I had a dog! :) This is a sweet and fun story about an animal that really enjoyed life and brought pleasure to others, too! I liked the part where Charlie interrupted the horseshoe throwing competition by catching the horseshoes in mid-air! He was just having fun! :) Good job!
Loren T. Lowery06/11/07
Takes me back to stories I loved to read as a child - great job and what a fun dog to know!
Edy T Johnson 06/11/07
Such a sweet dog, and a sweet story. Makes me want to live in small-town America, again, and have another dog! Thanks for giving your readers a mini-vacation back in time.
Dee Yoder 06/12/07
A lovely story that children would really enjoy reading!
Pamela Kliewer06/12/07
Good job - a well written piece that older children would enjoy.
Dara Sorensen06/13/07
Cute story!

I do agree that some of the sentences could be broken down, but that's about it. I think children would love to read this--a good animal story always catches their attention--I knew it did for me when I was little ^_^
Kristen Hester06/13/07
As a dog lover. I enjoyed reading about Charlie. Great story.
Jacquelyn Horne06/13/07
I loved Charlie. I'm sure children will too. (Well, I'm a child at heart!)
Pat Guy 06/13/07
I'm a dog lover too and I loved Charlie! Kids love stories about animals - they would really love this one!
Sara Harricharan 06/14/07
How cute and fun! This would make a great movie. ^_^ I love the character of Charlie.
Rebecca Jones06/16/07
Charlie reminds me of my old Border Collie -- thanks for stirring up wonderful doggie memories!