Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Winner of Free Write Friday #2

   So after a week of open submissions and lots of tough deliberating, a winner for #FreeWriteFriday #2 has been reached! 

Congratulations to Adrian Bojan, of Berks County, for his untitled story below. Give it a read. It definitely touched my heart, and anyone who has a pet that is part of the fmaily will surely agree. 

Here it is:

There was once a girl named Alyssa who lived in Oley, Pennsylvania. She owned a light brown Labrador Retriever, whose name was Rusty. Alyssa absolutely loved Rusty, and she would beg her parents to bring the Retriever wherever they went. Whenever Alyssa would go to school, Rusty would follow her to the front door and wait there for her until she came back. Everytime Alyssa got home from school, she would get jumped on by Rusty. They were best friends, until one tragic day. On the last day of school when Alyssa got home, Rusty wasn’t there to jump in her and lick her face.
She called, “Rusty? Where are you Rusty?”
Rusty was nowhere to be found. Alyssa ran outside panicking, looking everywhere for her beloved dog. She then felt her phone vibrating in her back pocket. It was her mom. As she answered the phone, her mom told her calmly,“Come to the Veterinarian, it’s an emergency”.
Alyssa ran to the Veterinarian as quick as she could. When she walked in, she saw her parents sitting in the back of the room, with tears in their eyes. Alyssa walked to them and asked,
“What’s wrong? Where’s Rusty?”
Her father looked at her and told her,“Go through those doors”.
Not knowing what was about to happen, Alyssa slowly walked through the double doors. She was greeted by a tall, slender women with blue eyes.
“Alyssa,” she began. “Rusty is diagnosed with cancer, I’m afraid he doesn’t have much time. I would say your goodbyes now,” she concluded, leaving Alyssa alone in the room.
Her eyes full of tears, she approached the body of her best friend.
“Rusty no! This can’t be happening! I’m dreaming, someone wake me up please!” Alyssa cried.
She buried her head into Rusty’s body, her tears soaking his fur.
As Rusty’s eyes began to close for the last time, he looked at Alyssa in the eyes, waving his tail and barked one. Rusty’s eyes began to close. Rusty was dead. Alyssa’s eyes burned with loss and grief. She picked up Rusty in her arms and walked out of the room. She walked past her parents, still with tears in her eyes, and walked out the front door. Once she was home, she grabbed a shovel and started to dig a hole in her backyard. After she was done, she carefully laid Rusty in the hole. Before she buried him, she put his favorite chew toy and bone on top of him and started to cover his lifeless body. Alyssa would never be the same again.
It’s been 3 years after Rusty’s death, and Alyssa is still struck with loss and grief. Everyday she goes outside and visits Rusty’s grave. Sometimes she swears she can hear him barking and walking up the stairs, but she knows he’s gone. Even though Rusty is gone, Alyssa still has dreams of her and Rusty doing everything they used to do. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Why I Owe it All to my Hometown

Here's what you need to know about my hometown:
1. There's probably more cows than people. And I like it that way.
2. The people there are great, despite being accidentally racist on occasion. 
3. We like guns. Like, a lot. 
4. Seeing a tractor in the school parking lot was in no way shocking.
5. There are no secrets. Ever. 
6. Everyone is your grandma. And they show love by feeding you.
7. It is the reason I am who I am today.

All joking aside, I seriously love my little podunk slice of heaven. I remember being seventeen and perpetually bitter, wanting nothing more than to leave that itty bitty town in my rear view mirror and never look back. And when I went to college, I had every intention of doing that.
But then something changed.
The city was loud and rough and though I learned how to take care of myself real quick, I ached for rolling hills and dairy farms. I had an accent here, and the food was awful. 
And when I moved away to Virginia for a job, I thought the ache would subside. I always wanted to live in the south, didn't I? So why was the longing only getting sharper?
I came back to Pennsylvania a little over a year ago, and nothing ever felt as good as passing state lines back into the north. It wasn't home, not really, but it was closer. And then I realized.

My hometown is what built me. The people, the country air, the teachers and coaches and friends and old boyfriends, all of it. And to this day, they do nothing but push me up so I can reach the sky. 

I released my second novel in April of this year, and never before have I felt the love and support of my community so strongly. 

So I know this post is all over the place, but this is long overdue.

Thank you. Thank you - Rome, Pa. - for motivating me to make you proud. Thank you for always taking me back, even when I tried to leave. Thank you for encouraging my goals, even when they were a long shot. I met them because of you.

And please don't ever think that I take that for granted.