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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)

TITLE: Swimming Is No Picnic At the Lake


I remember that Memorial Day weekend in 1989 like it was yesterday. Everyone in the town was getting together at the lake that Saturday day to remember our soldiers and ring in the summer, and my college roommate, our boyfriends and I couldn’t wait.

Anna and I had previously worked in sandwich shops, so we were gung-ho to show Chris and Todd just how professional we could be when it came to the art of sandwich making. So, off we went to the local IGA to stock up on all the fixings - red wine vinegar, dried oregano, olive oil, prosciutto di Parma, capicola, Genoa salami, Provolone, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, hoagie rolls , chips pickles, sodas, beer – the whole nine yards.

Chris and Todd enjoyed the meal that we had prepared and we all enjoyed watching the children playing in the lake. So, since it was hot outside and they all seemed to be enjoying it, we decided to take a dip, too – that is, until we actually hit the water. It was so cold that all four of us ran back out of it as quickly as we had gone in, and none of us could understand why, when we had stayed in the water for hours just a few years earlier when we were closer in age to them, we were no longer able to handle it (and Anna had been on the swim team and had been a lifeguard, too). But, for the first time in all of our 21, 22, and 24 years, we finally understood why our mothers always said that our skin and our lips were blue whenever we had stayed in the water too long, and from that moment on, swore that we would never risk our lives like that again.

Shortly after that, the police arrived, and all three of them were in their bathing suits, too – each saying, “Don’t worry. If something happens in the town, we will leave.” Luckily, no crimes were committed in our town that day, and we all enjoyed our small town picnic by the lake.

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This article has been read 336 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jess Capps07/12/12
Interesting and fun! I could easily imagine being at the town picnic. You do seem to favor long sentences, which can get confusing. I had to go back and reread a couple to make sure I was understanding your piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/12/12
This is sweet. I think every little community has something like a picnic or festival that we can remember fondly.

I yearned for even more details or some type of a conflict. Perhaps add some dialog about the boys teasing your sandwich making ability and you setting off to prove them wrong. Another idea might be to turn this into a devotional with a matching Bible verse and a prayer.

The memory is important to you after all of these years. I like that you shared such a vital part of coming into adulthood with me. I can totally relate to how little kids can handle the cold water when we adults do turn blue. Nice job.
Myrna Noyes07/12/12
Your sandwiches sounded yummy and made my mouth water! :) What a great summer picnic memory you shared with us!

One suggestion would be to break up your long sentences a bit. I felt almost out of breath reading one of them! :)

Genia Gilbert07/12/12
This sounds like a fun picnic. We all come to points when we realize we're not nine or ten any more. lol The policemen joining them was an added touch.

I'm also one of those people who has difficulty chopping sentences into smaller bites. I work on it constantly.
Noel Mitaxa 07/13/12
Very descriptive entry as you outlined the food for the picnic.
Your second last paragraph is too busy and needs to be broken up. This would help you to fill out a good story and wrap it up without leaving loose ends, for you still had over 300 words within the limit.
Laura Hawbaker07/13/12
Good description. Made me want to make a sanswich! I had a creative writing teacher who told me he destests the word "so". It usually isn't needed. "So, we went..." could be "We went..." "So, since it was so hot..." I don't destest the word so, but I do try to use it very sparingly.
Hiram Claudio07/13/12
An enjoyable read. I too could see places where a few more details about the people involved, and breaking up certain paragraphs, would add more intrigue or pop to it. I really enjoyed the part about the sandwich making. I could feel the pride in wanting to show off. Good work!
C D Swanson 07/13/12
Short in its entirety, but long on memories. I enjoyed this lovely rendition of "earlier times" when life was so simple. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it immensely. God Bless~
Genia Gilbert07/13/12
I did read the article from your link. You are absolutely correct in what it says about long and short sentences. Maybe I won't work quite so hard at making mine shorter. lol I don't think I'm good enough to keep things clarified if I use too many long ones, though.
Leola Ogle 07/16/12
Love that you shared such a delightful memory! I agree with the advice in the other comments. Take to heart all the helpful advice and it will improve your writing skills! Also make me crave one of those sandwiches you described so well. God bless!