Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (Don't write about the song) (04/16/15)
TITLE: Familyó Oh yeah Ė FamilyÖ
By Corinne Smelker
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Hank was right. Our Uncle Harry had left England 10 years earlier in a fit of pique, complaining that ‚Äėthis island is nothing more than earth‚Äôs damp sponge.‚Äô I couldn‚Äôt disagree with him, but being only 11 at the time I had no choice but to stay on this ‚Äėarmpit of the world‚Äô (another description from him) while he ventured off to climes further south.
In that time my mother, brother, sister and I had settled down in the country and made a decent living out of weekend hunts and a Bed and Breakfast. Harry‚Äôs arrival put a spanner in the works since we had a big shooting party coming through the weekend of his arrival. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôll put him in with you Hank.‚ÄĚ Mother said.
‚ÄúOh great. Thanks Mother.‚ÄĚ Hank said, rolling his eyes.
We waited, with bated breath, for my uncle‚Äôs arrival that Friday afternoon, and he did not disappoint. A large black taxi pulled up to the front door and disgorged a tanned, slim and extremely disgruntled Harry. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm starving. Where‚Äôs the food?‚ÄĚ were his first words to us in 10 years.
Mother and Hattie my sister, ushered him in whilst Hank and I wrestled Harry‚Äôs suitcases from the car boot. ‚ÄúI thought he was only coming for the weekend?‚ÄĚ groaned Hank as he pulled out a steamer trunk. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs worse than Bianca Castafiore (she of Tintin fame) and she‚Äôs a fictional character!‚ÄĚ We lugged his luggage up to Hank‚Äôs room and traipsed back downstairs in time to hear Uncle Harry wax lyrical about the sun-baked countries he‚Äôd thrust himself on.
Saturday morning squelched its way in, and with it our band of weekend shooters and beaters. Uncle Harry reluctantly agreed to join us, to, as he said, ‚Äúshow you all how a real hunter shoots.‚ÄĚ As dawn won its fight against the dark, and the sun limped its way up the horizon, Uncle Harry strode forth; deerstalker hat and tweed-suit clad. ‚ÄúMy word,‚ÄĚ Hattie said, ‚Äúhe does go all out, doesn‚Äôt he?‚ÄĚ
Soon enough Uncle Harry was barking orders at me, since as his youngest nephew I was given the dubious honor of being his beater. He was doing a tolerable job of duck hunting and had brought down a couple of duck and one goose. To hear him go on about it, one would think he was single-handedly responsible for feeding the entire nation.
Behind me I heard Harry‚Äôs shotgun go off, and then a roar of pain. I turned in time to see him jumping up and down on one foot. ‚ÄúI shot myself! I shot myself!‚ÄĚ I ran back to him and saw that indeed he had shot his foot. Thankfully his brogues were so thick that the pellets had penetrated the leather and only done minor damage to his foot. But still, scary and painful.
Hank, hearing the disturbance, ran over to help, and between the two of us we managed to get Harry home; where it was determined that nothing was broken, although Uncle Harry‚Äôs foot was bruised, swollen and obviously extremely tender.
The rest of the weekend passed in a blur as Mother, Hattie, Hank and I tended to Uncle Harry, who took up residence on the living room sofa. Mother unwisely gave him a bell he could ring if he needed anything and none of us got a moment‚Äôs rest. He also regaled each guest with his tale of woe and by the end of the weekend his story had taken on magnificent proportions ‚ÄĒ he had in fact protected me from a pack of marauding dogs and the accident was a by-product of his great bravery.
Monday morning was a bright clear day ‚ÄĒ a day Englishmen dream about, but seldom experience. Uncle Harry‚Äôs taxi swept up the graveled drive and we all helped him into its cavernous back seat, and loaded his trunks into the boot. We waved enthusiastically as the vehicle drove away. ‚ÄúMother, the next tine Uncle Harry decides to visit us, please give me plenty of notice,‚ÄĚ Hank said wearily.
‚ÄúWhy, dear?‚ÄĚ Mother enquired.
‚ÄúSo I can emigrate!‚ÄĚ Hank said resolutely. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a blessing that none of us killed him this weekend! I can only take my family in limited doses!‚ÄĚ
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