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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)

TITLE: Hatchet Junior's Holiday Journal
By Jason Swiney


Seven days to go and Daddy ainít bought no tree. Ticks me off, but what can you do when youíre twelve? Iím already in trouble for asking about it too much. Momma just says heíll get to it when he can. She doesnít seem too upset about it, which is unlike Momma.

Six days to go and no tree. No Daddy either. Heís busy, real busy. Work was slow all summer and fall and now heís got more than he can handle. He owns Hatchetís Tree and Stump Removal, youíve probably seen his big orange truck with the bucket lift around town. It seems everybody in Jasper is worried about trees near their house after that big red oak smashed through Hutch Andersonís place. Daddy said the long drought weakened and killed bunches and now they canít stand up to the winds and the ice forming on the branches. But like I said, since the Anderson house got smashed, our phone ainít quit ringing.

Mrs. Benson, I hope what Iím writing is okay for the Holiday Journal. Besides the reading and the writing, I sure do like your Language Arts class.

Five days to go, so I took a few matters into my own hands. Our property is full of red cedars. There is a giant one in the back bigger than that Christmas tree in front of the courthouse, but there are several smaller ones in the front near the road. I thought about cutting one down with Daddyís hacksaw. It may be worth a blistering, Iím still debating. Anyway, I got all the ornaments and lights from the storage shed and set them smack dab in the living room. Maybe heíll get the hint.

Four days to go and still no tree. It is partly Mommaís fault. First of all, she wonít let us have a fake tree so we have to wait on Daddy to bring home a real one every year in his truck. I mentioned cutting down a cedar to him yesterday, but he said red cedars ainít Christmas trees. Then he said heíd buy a fir when he had time, which really meant donít ask him no more.

The second reason I blame Momma is because of the back porch. For her birthday in September she wanted it turned into a sunroom. When Daddy had time to work on it, I donít think he had the money. When he started getting good work, there was no time. So now when Daddy does get home, he eats and rests a bit, then he works on the sunroom. He hammers and drills and saws long after Iím in bed. Momma keeps saying that room is all she wants for Christmas, and Daddy just says ďgood.Ē

Mrs. Benson, did I do them quote things right?

Three days to go. All our wrapped gifts are stacked in the corner of the living room. Daddy took the ornaments and lights and moved them to the carport. There is plenty of room since Momma ainít got a car right now. No car. No tree. At least we got presents.

Me and Momma did find a plastic manger scene and set it up in the front yard. We ran one string of lights around the front porch rail and then we made a wreath for the door. Itís real pretty.

Two days to go. Daddy was gone all day. He looked tired at supper but I didnít feel like talking with him anyway. I can hear Daddy right now working on Mommaís durn sunroom, but Iím not even going out to ask if I can help. He must be finishing something on the sunroomís roof because I heard him drive his bucket truck around the back of the house.

Christmas Eve.
Mrs. Benson you wouldnít believe it! We got the biggest Christmas tree youíve ever seen! Daddy called us into the finished sunroom for breakfast before sunrise, and right through those big glass windows was that mammoth cedar tree in the backyard shining from top to bottom. Itís got lights and beads and ornaments and more lights. Daddy used his bucket lift to decorate all night long, he even put a big bright star on top. He must have never gone to bed because he is snoring hard on the couch right now. Iím going to bundle up and get outside by the tree and let him rest. My Daddyís earned it.

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This article has been read 668 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick10/30/08
I liked the idea of a narration through the journal of a child. This is touching and you can't help but feel sorry for the boy, yet realize how his parents must feel too. Nice work! I loved the ending.
Seema Bagai 10/31/08
Wonderful story. I could hear the MC narrating the events.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/02/08
Unique approach to the story and a crafty teacher who came up with a way to get a 12-year old boy writing :)
Joanne Sher 11/02/08
Love the little side comments to the teacher, and the voice of the boy - so realistic. This made me smile.
Sharon Kane11/03/08
I could feel the poor lad's frustration with his overstretched parents! What a great way for the Dad to surprise him with a dream Christmas tree right at the end!
Diana Dart 11/03/08
The title caught my eye and then the story came through. Good narrator voice and good ending, wrapped it up nicely.