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that cow

that cow

a young man remembers his great grandfather in a essay he wrote for history class. this is his essay.

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Historical fiction


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gerald stalter (United States)


(1919)
“Son got to go get that cow, she got out again.” Shaking me like she was needing bread while she spoken. Wanted to just close my eyes and go back to sleep, but I know that the family needs the milk for the morning. My feet meet the floor, then made friends with the souls of those old muddy boots. The air blew a kiss to my bottom as I didn’t bother just kept on my red long johns. Went to the barn gotten a lantern then off I went. Down to the lake that’s where she went to have her calf, but no luck. No luck near, the old oak tree that grandpa planet, nor did she go to the neighbors back yard. Went to all the spots in my head but she wasn’t there. There was one spot. Ms. Lemon’s garden is where I found her gossiping with the other cows. The bottoms of my feet hurt, the fabric to my longs johns sweated and stuck to my flesh. Was happy to see that cow.
“Come one, come all, see the next best thing to come to baseball. Are you man enofe to try?” I was trying to keep the boot from falling off my foot didn’t really hear the voice that was coming down near the field. I finally made my way up to the field to see a baseball game going on. These men trying out you could tell they traveled to try. They couldn’t throw to save their necks. They couldn’t run the other way from the themselves tripping over untiled shoes. Better not say that too much I had old muddy boots. Sat there watching talking to the cow as she was a person. One man saw me and asked me why I wasn’t trying out. That was a good question. Told the cow I was going to try out. Just made her moo sound at me. Never hire a cow to be your best friend.
I brushed myself off, kicked off the boots and tied the cow to the fence. Made my way to the middle of the diamond they had put on the ground with old bags of beans and chalk dust. The other men who tried out before sitting there laughing and making jokes. There where words I was saying in my head that needed not to be said. Bent down for the ball but the back flap to my long johns came flying opened as I mooned the whole crowed. They were buttoned up as fast as my fingers could go. The tester had come out for little old me put the wooden stick on his shoulders while chewing salt water taffy. Stood there until I saw the white in his eyes not looking at the bat. Through one with me left hand he couldn’t hit that, then my right hand, the boy didn’t know which way was up after that. I thought this was baseball I’s just playing. The field was silent as I walked out. When I walked up and untiled the cow I noticed there was a paper in my one boot. It read. “If you like a chance to be famous and go into the history books come back in the morning, son you’re a Yankee now.” I want to go, but do I, my daddy was sick I had to stay home and take care of the family. Got to get her back home.
“You are not going to go anywhere with men like that.” I stopped listening once she started screaming in German. I tried so hard to explain my side. I tried not to be loud, but my father heard anyway. He wanted me to go. He told her that he lived his life now I gave mine up for them, now it’s time to live. That night I could not sleep just tossed all night. When I returned to the field I was dressed in my trousers and shirt this time. Same faces from the other day. The people in charge wanted to see how we played. We proved ourselves already but this would break us. At first there where fifteen men. He took five at a time into this large room. I was in the last group. They locked the door behind us and told us to strip down. That’s what they were doing I did the same I was locked in so I had no other choices. There the five of us stood holding our manhood in our hands. Was told to put this uniform on. Each group is different I was on the green group. Made us run out side for miles. That cow gotten me through it with miles looking for her. Then finally the game was going great, but I felt a pain in my chest as it went on. It felt like a fire work went off in your chest. Stood there in a sweet just circling in the spot I stood in. Grabbed my chest and just dropped to the ground. Blacked out there for a moment then I woke in a hospital. I guess my heart was weak. I got a chance I thanks them for that.

(2010)
I remember when, I was nineteen years old, and my Grandfather Melvin catching me looking at my Great Grandfather, Gerald Edwards’s picture that sat on the wall. I couldn’t help it because I’m named after the stranger that was in the picture. I never knew a thing about him. As a boy I would sit on his stairs and image him in my head. Poppy, Melvin never talked about his father. Well, I got the rare moment were he sat me down and shared a few things with me, and one thing he shared was something I will never forget.
When Gerald Edward was eighteen in the year 1919 he was in and out of Bear Mountain, New York all the time because of work. Bear Mountain New York, at the time would hold tryouts for different things. One day he saw that they were going to have baseball try outs so, Gerald at nineteen years old tried out for the New York Yankee Baseball Team. How many people can say that they had a family member that has done something like that? I was like a kid in the candy store when I heard this for myself. In my mind Gerald was standing in the middle of the field, feeling as he had as if I was in his place.
They really liked the fact that he could throw, and pitch with both his left and right hands. They liked him so much that they recruited him. During practice one day he fainted later on he learned that he came down sick with Rheumatic Fever, which has to do with problems of the heart. Gerald had to wait until he grew out of the heart condition, but I think it killed him when he gave up the team. Cool how a country boy like him could get a chance on the biggest ball game known to man. My Great Grandfather almost had a baseball card. His parents came from a big German root. But we didn’t know the connection, but I found it for him. If I could go back in time, I would spend a day with him that would be so wonderful. Were both country boys with the same name, and I am proud to have it. I wrote this for a school paper and gotten the highest grade a teacher can give out. That picture sits on my dresser now a young man sitting there in a frame. He was 19 in that picture, as I was 19 when I learned of that story. Smile on in that frame smile on.


Competition: June 2015 Pen Factor, Round 1

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Read Reviews

Review 1:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • There needs to be more balance between narration and dialogue. Avoid overdoing the narrative and remember that dialogue can diffuse long claustrophobic text.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals and conflicts were clearly conveyed.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Think about the conflict and tension in your story. How effectively has it been introduced?
Technique and tight writing
  • When writing is tight, economical and each word has purpose, it enables the plot to unravel clearly. Try and make each individual word count.
Point of view
  • Point of view helps the reader identify whose perspective we are engaging with, i.e. who is narrating the story. It can sometimes be helpful to double check that the point of view in the story is successfully handled. Ensure you consistently use the same point of view and tense throughout, either: a) First person; b) Third-person limited; or c) Third-person omniscient.
Style and originality
  • Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose is tricky. As writers, we face the daunting task of making sure we are not being predictable. Can you find a way to give the content and characters more of a unique edge? Perhaps say something boldly, something fresh or show an unorthodox approach to a topic?
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The setting was realistic and vivid. The characters’ mood and emotions were conveyed successfully through the believable setting.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Great stories, nowadays, start with a powerful opening line and compelling hook in order to keep the reader engaged. Have you baited the reader enough?

Review 2:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • The protagonist didn’t always respond believably against the backdrop of the story. Ask yourself if people would really answer to a situation in that way. Think about whether the characters’ voices could be more convincing for their age, background, gender, time period, genre, gender and ethnicity. Dialogue should be natural and consistent throughout the story.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals and conflicts were clearly conveyed.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Think about the conflict and tension in your story. How effectively has it been introduced?
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice. Impressive.
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The scene needs to be vivid and realistic in order to hold the reader’s attention. Being concise and plausible at the same time is tricky. Giving this further attention could perhaps be worthwhile.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Your great opening was a promise of wonderful things to come. I was hooked!