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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: Blighting
By Catrina Bradley


Woody gaped at his older brother. "What'er you talkin bout, Ralph? We grew up in Georgia. We had winter. We even had snow, fer cryin out loud."

"Nah man, you don't understand." Ralph shook his head. "I'm talkin winter. Like nothin you ever felt before. So cold you could snap your ears clean off." He turned his head and spat into the ditch. "Made me wanna get outta that state as fast as I could. Don't care if I never go back there. Course Vikki'd have a conniption fit.

"'Christmas just isn't Christmas without snow, and cutting down our own tree, blah-blah-blah.'"

Ralph's whiney Vikki impersonation made Woody choke on his chaw laughing. Woody managed to wheeze out, "Ah, man, you sound just like'er." A chortle started another coughing fit.

"Plus she don't want our kids to miss out on all that, either. So, as much as I hate it, I gotta go back." Ralph shuddered. "You just don't know, man."

"So tell me. What?"

"Well, there's the whole gettin in the car thing. No such thing as a garage in Wisconsin, near as I can tell. You'd think these people woulda figured it out by now, but no. If you can manage to turn the key in the lock without heatin it up first, you jump in yer car as quick as you can. Course it don't take long for the frozen seat to freeze YOUR seat."

"Man," Vern said. "Sounds colder than I ever been."

"But that ain't the worst part. Poor Vikki."

"What?" Woody smacked his brother. "What happened to Vikki?"

"Nothin, Vikki's fine. It was her house."

"What was her house?"

Ralph nudged Woody. "Keep up man. The worst part.

"So anyways, me and Vikki get to her house, and before we're even outta the car, she says to me, 'I'm sorry. It's not the Ritz.'

"I tole her, 'Quit worryin about it - I didn't marry ya for yer money.' She smacked me for that, but at least she smiled.

"So we go in and meet her folks, and she's showin me around. She's got this pitiful look on her face. 'Course I knew why; she'd told me some about growin up there, so I wasn't that shocked. Still I could tell she felt kinda embarrassed."

"That bad, huh?" Woody launched another hawker into the dirt.

Ralph shrugged. "It's an old farmhouse in the Midwest. Ever seen Green Acres? But it din't bother me like she was afraid it would. And the wood stove in the kitchen kept the downstairs toasty."

"So it wasn't the worst part? What's the deal, man?"

"It was goin to bed that was the worst part." Ralph's eyes grew wide and he hugged himself.

"Vikkie asked if I'd rather sleep on a mattress on the living room floor or in her old bunk beds upstairs. I picked upstairs; her mom and dad'd be up early, and b'sides, Vikki did it for 18 years, I could do it for a week."

"Bunk beds, Bro? Seriously? Did ya share or split up?"

"Well, we started out split up. Vikki wanted to share, but I nixed that idea. Too cramped. She asked me, 'Top or bottom?' I picked bottom acourse.

"Now Vikki'd tole me 'bout her room bein so cold she'd had to scrape a hole in the frost to see out the window in the mornings. But I didn't figure it'd be that cold. I didn't even get undressed. Just dowsed the light and zipped up into the sleeping bag her mom'd put on the bed.

"Man, my teeth were loosenin up in my head, all that chattering they was doin. Vikki warbles, 'Night hon.'

"I'm a-shakin and a-shiverin, and I chatter,'Night.'

"I swear I hear her snicker.

"So I'm tryin to git thawed out and fall asleep, but every time I turn over, it feels like my face is layin smack dab on sheet of ice. Finally I say the heck with this. 'Git yer fanny down here ... and bring yer sleeping bag.' Body heat's good'n all, but still ya don't dare move outta the spot you got warmed up."

Woody thwapped a wad of tobacco into the weeds. "Body heat, huh? Finally, this story's goin somewheres."

"Naw, man, I din't even want to think about baring any skin. I snuggled into'er and finally started thawin out enough to whisper, 'I reckon we can come back next Christmas ... on one condition.

"We're stayin at the Motel 6."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 08/20/09
I love these two guys. How funny. The whole time I knew you were setting me up for the punch line. Very good comedic timing:)
Dee Yoder 08/20/09
Oh man, I have a friend with a Victorian "torture house" in the winter, too. To sleep there, you have to keep waking up to warm your nose or else it would have frostbite in the morning! SO cold! I don't normally like to sleep with animals, but in her house, I almost bought doggie treats to LURE her dogs to bed with me...*shiver*. I could definitely relate to this story.
Deborah Engle 08/20/09
Great job, right on for topic, and a good laugh.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/21/09
I enjoyed this fun read...and was mighty glad I didn't have to spend the night at Vicki's house.
Marita Thelander 08/21/09
I had fun "talking" like the men in my head as I read this. Even making the "hawker" sound. Great voice.
Loren T. Lowery08/21/09
I know someone just like this...I can only hope its not catching or hereditary. Great job of telling this tale.
Jan Ackerson 08/24/09
Hilarious! I'm so glad you went this route...this is perhaps my favorite this week. Love these guys, and you nailed the dialect.
Mona Purvis08/24/09
Makes me think about the old two-story farmhouse I grew up in about a mile from where I now live. You could see the chickens under the house through the floorboards. Tin roof, never heard of insulation and my room was a LONG way from the Franklin stove we used in the kitchen. We're in the south, but it felt like we were in Alaska in that old cold house. It no longer stands.
Colin Swann08/24/09
Being an Englishman you lost me in the dialect but I plodded on and I think I understood some of it. Sorry I'm a simple guy.
Colin Swann08/24/09
I've just given it a second scan over and understand most of it - sorry. Remember you won the first prize for red ink on one of my pieces!
Beth LaBuff 08/24/09
:) I totally enjoyed this descriptive writing about a northern, farmhouse in winter. I understood every bit of it! :) Your ending was great.. :) I was also kinda hoping they had an outhouse they had to visit in the middle of winter. :)
Mariane Holbrook 08/24/09
You've got the dialect right down pat. I know cuz I talk dat way! (kidding hehe)It's a great piece of writing and I chucked and giggled through it. Yer da best! Kudos!
Charla Diehl 08/25/09
Growing up in the Midwest--I certainly could relate. Early in my marriage we rented an old farmhouse with no upstairs heat--we bought a heating blanket. And I had to chuckle--I grew up in a subdivision called "Green Acres."
So this story made me smile as I pictured the scene unfolding. Great piece.
Bryan Ridenour08/25/09
Great dialect and very funny entry. This was very entertaining! Well done!
Yvonne Blake 08/25/09
giggle...sounds like our upstairs bedrooms!