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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: POCKET BRANCH
By Kevin Rodgers
04/08/08


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Just outside of one small Alabama town, a river meanders in search of the Gulf. As it remains true to its course, it steadily nips away at the earthen banks that line each bend in its path. At many of these bends, the river’s current gouges out small pockets from its bank. The cool water from one of these pockets serves as a haven to relieve the town’s youngsters of the scorching summer heat. Pocket Branch.

“Look out below!” Ken yelled as he released the rope and plummeted to the water, splashing Billy.

“Hey, watch it. You almost landed on me, punk.”

“Oh, quit whining you big baby,” Ken replied as a joking smirk lined his face.

Billy stared Ken down with his ‘angry eyes’; after only a few seconds had passed, he broke into laughter and returned the splash in Ken’s direction.

Today was just another ordinary day for Billy.

“Hey guys, get out of the way!” a voice called down from atop the towering bluff.

Steve had been next in line to conquer the mighty river’s cove and had been waiting patiently during Billy and Ken’s friendly squabble. But his patience had grown thin.

“Get out of the way!” he said again with one hand holding the rope and the other motioning them out of the line of fire.

With a loud ‘Tarzan’ yell, he cannon-balled into the river’s arms, joining his buddies in the murky water with a splash that rivaled any the boys had seen that day.

When Steve came up for air, Billy asked, “Where’s Clint?”

“He’s comin’. ‘Went to pick up Amy. ‘Said she’s bringn’ some friends with her too.”

“Who’s she bring’n?” Ken asked.

“Don’t know. Just friends,” he replied as he quickly swam to the sandy beach. “This time I’m gonna jump. No rope.”

The boys swam, threw rocks at one another, and took turns swinging from the cliff for what seemed like hours.

Today was just another ordinary day for Billy.

“What’s goin’ on?”

The noise startled the boys, who, now tired, had each stretched out on the beach to rest.

“Clint,” Ken said as he rose to his feet, “where ya’ been man? Thought you’d been here before now.”

Clint cautiously made his way down the slippery trail with Amy and another girl close behind.

“Went by to pick up Amy. Then got hung up talkn’ to her parents,” he smiled, rolling his eyes. Amy didn’t smile.

“You all know Jessica,” he said, looking at the short red-head that now stood beside Amy. “She’s got Biology with you. Right, Steve?”

“Yeah, and English. Hey Jess.”

“Hey,” she said smiling.

“And this is Crissy, Amy’s cousin,” Clint said as he pointed to another girl still gingerly making her way down the wet path. “Just moved here from Georgia.”

She had been so far back the guys hadn’t noticed her. Except Billy.

Billy hadn’t said a word since Clint’s arrival. Not because he was tired. Not because he was angry. Because of Crissy. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. “She’s hot,” he said to himself, as he stared unashamed.

Today was no ordinary day for Billy.

As the sun slowly ventured across the sky in search of its bed beyond the western horizon, the river below continued to explode with the sounds of playful laughter. One by one, they each took their turns leaping from the tall, rocky cliff that reigned over Pocket Branch. All of them, except two.

“Come on Billy,” Ken yelled atop the bluff. “You gonna swing or not?”

“Maybe later,” he replied, holding Crissy’s hand as they sat alone on the beach.

She smiled, while fluttering her lashes. “He is sooo cute,” she said to herself.

Today was definitely no ordinary day for Billy.

******************************************************************************

“Grandpa Bill! Grandpa Bill!”

Billy, standing near his bed, spun at the sound of his darling Jen, his only grandchild. After he placed the picture frame he was holding back to its rightful spot on the night stand, he bent down to hug his pride and joy.

Grandpa Bill, are you coming? Mom’s waiting.”

“Tell Mom, I’ll be down in a second.”

Once Jen left, Billy once again picked up the frame. Though her hair was a shade of silver, and her face showed wrinkles now, she was just as beautiful as the day they first met, some fifty-two years ago along the banks of that muddy river.

Tears filled his eyes as he said in a whisper, “I miss you Crissy.”


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This article has been read 472 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Wistrom04/10/08
Your curious title got me, your characters won me and your ending was sweet. Keep writing!
Christine Dunn04/10/08
A sad and touching ending. I liked the picture you painted of this couple at both ages.
Sara Harricharan 04/10/08
Oooh, this was sweet! And so nice. I liked the way you showed how age hadn't really 'affected' anything. This was great, nice writing! ^_^
LauraLee Shaw04/13/08
Needed a kleenex at the end. Moving. You also did a great job of taking me to the scene and helping me know the characters. Well done.
Joy Faire Stewart04/14/08
I enjoyed the passage of time in the story and great details.
Jan Ackerson 04/14/08
I kept wondering where the "grandparent" would come in, and then I had to gulp down a stone in my throat!
Lyn Churchyard04/15/08
That was so lovely. Well done!
Holly Westefeld04/16/08
I'm with Jan. Well done.
Sheri Gordon04/16/08
Oh, this is so sweet. I loved the memories--just beautiful. Nice job with the topic.
Tim Pickl04/16/08
Wonderful characters and description -- it reads like a movie.