Small Town living 895 words


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  1. #1

    Small Town living 895 words

    Small Town Living by Bob Brown

    The dogs went wild. I took the stick and banged the tree. The howls of 4 very excited coon hounds echoed across the valley, of my little town in Upstate NY. A full-grown coon stared back at me from its perch in the tree. The dogs barked and jumped at the tree, in a gleeful frenzy. With a gun in one hand and stick in the other, and a grin as big as Texas. I egged them on. This was a glorious morning!

    As long as I can remember I have always wanted to live in the country. I grew up in suburbia, where the houses sat on tree lined streets with houses, packed in orderly rows and people did orderly things. I despised it. I wanted no part of it. I dreamed of living in the country. Wide open spaces, woods… fields, and hills… and no people, or at least not very many. When I grow up, that’s where I’ll live. I remember making that vow to myself at age 11.

    When I bought my first house at the age of twenty two; it was a rundown old place, but had everything I ever wanted.

    I told my wife I had only a few requirements, “I want a place where can’t see my neighbors. I want a place to swim and I want to be able to shoot in the backyard.”

    The house could always be changed but not the location.

    Like any country boy I had a dog, or dogs in my case. Black and tan coon hounds were what I raised. Back in the eighties, coon hides averaged about 18 to 20 dollars apiece. On a good night I might get two or three. It may not sound like much in today’s economy, but back then it would buy groceries and give me money for gas. Coon hunting was more than just a hobby, it was a way that I supplemented my income.

    I have had dogs that were pets, and dogs that were hunting dogs, they are not the same. There is something special about hunting together with your dog. If you have one you get it. If you have one that just warms up a spot on the floor, you wouldn’t understand it. Training a dog, and relying on it to produce an income brings the relationship to a whole different level. Very different than getting the family dog to come when he is told, to sit and stay. It’s pretty cool to be able to take a dog that loves hunting as much as you do, and make an income at the same time.


    The sun was just starting to rise when the dogs went off. A coon hound has a different sound when they have a coon treed. Because they have lifted their heads to look up, it sounds very different than when they are trailing one. Lying in bed is not the place I am used to hearing them tree. It made no sense that a coon would wander into a yard full of dogs. The rhythmic chop of the two dogs treeing was music to my ears. My wife rolled over and glared at me, giving me the look.

    The one that said, “You got be kidding me… or not again?”

    I looked out our window and couldn’t believe what I saw. A coon was in the tree that separated the two dogs. Each dog had a cable run that lets them go back and forth, maybe 60 feet. The cables were anchored in a shared tree. The coon was in that tree. Two other young dogs were in the pen. They excitedly barked because the other dogs were, a chorus of hounds barked in excitement.

    I grabbed a gun and ran downstairs. I raced outdoors and let the two younger dogs go. I grabbed a stick and beat on the tree encouraging the young dogs to join in. I shot up in the air, banged on the tree. As soon as they would start to quiet down I would start right back up again. They were born to do this, so was I.

    I don’t have any neighbors, but I do live above the small village of Montour Falls. I really didn’t give much thought to how this might sound on a quiet spring morning. Four dogs barking up a storm, gun fire and some guy yelling and shouting. I don’t know what they thought, but someone obviously thought it would be a good idea to call the sheriff. I noticed him in one of the lulls of excitement. Standing on the other side of the bridge across the creek. He was looking up at me. He was shaking his head in disbelief. One hand on his hip the other over his eyes as if he were saluting me.

    One part of the story I forgot to mention. In the excitement that morning I didn’t bother to put on any pants. When the Sheriff looked up, he saw a guy in his underwear. A gun in one hand, a stick in the other, surrounded by four dogs barking in a frenzy.

    He was still shaking his head when he climbed back into his patrol car. As he pulled away all I could think of was. This is a glorious morning and I love living in the country.





    I wrote this after looking at some old photos of past descendants. They had struck a pose for the camera defiantly staring back. I wondered what they were thinking, who were these people? This was written for a future generation, just to let them know...Grandpa really was a crazy old guy and this is how he thought.
    Last edited by Plasticweld; February 19th, 2018 at 02:50 AM.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  2. #2
    Okay! While the subject matter is not my cup of tea, I focused more on the writing. I found some challenges. There were several incomplete sentences, and I won't share them all, but there were enough to be distracting. Like this one -
    With a gun in one hand and stick in the other, and a grin as big as Texas. I egged them on.
    I believe there should be a comma between Texas and I. And this one -
    When I bought my first house at the age of 22. It was a rundown old place, but had everything I ever wanted. I told my wife I had only a few requirements. “I want a place where can’t see my neighbors. I want a place to swim and I want to be able to shoot in the backyard.” The house could always be changed the location not.
    Either get rid of the word "When," or put a comma between 22 and It. And the last sentence is missing a word (but?) and a comma.

    My suggestion is that you try and submerge yourself into this story. Stop writing for a moment and just see it. See what you are describing on the page. You have a few empty holes, like the beginning paragraph of the story describes what is happening in real time, and then you reflect on your childhood home. To be honest, I don't really feel a return to the beginning. To me it just felt like a continuation of the story at that point. Does that make sense?

    I love this type of story, feeling good about the country, about living without neighbors and feeling in control of one's life. But the joyfulness of the moment seems lost because i don't know the motivation. Why did he want to live in the country, what did he hate about his childhood home?

    I grew up on the north side of Chicago. I loved living there, loved the neighbors and the chaos and the ethnicity of living in an inner city. But one summer, I went to a farm for a day camp - every day. And I loved that too. I even loved the smells and sometimes, driving through the country on a highway, I would smell that smell and the memories would come rushing back. Most people don't find farm aromas that compelling - but I think I always will. If I had a choice to live in the country or the city, I would choose the country. See?

    I think your story could be a really good one with a couple of changes. Make it more compelling, where your readers are nodding their heads because they remember feeling that way too. Good job, Bob! Would love to see more with changes.


    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  3. #3
    Thanks Sue for taking the time to proof read and offer some suggestions as far as where the story went.

    I told the story in the order that I did, to try and portray some of my characteristics to someone many years from now, may have no idea who I was. It was kind of meant as more backstory than story.

    I keyed in on a couple of things that I thought would do that. It appears that that goal may have been achieved, but at the cost of the story.

    I am going to have to re-think this piece and make some changes.

    I value your opinion as a story teller and really appreciate your input.

    To answer your question about motivation, it is simple. The ability to shoot in your back yard in your underwear while dogs go crazy, not caring what anyone thinks. Is about as close to true freedom as you will ever see :}


    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post

    I love this type of story, feeling good about the country, about living without neighbors and feeling in control of one's life. But the joyfulness of the moment seems lost because i don't know the motivation. Why did he want to live in the country, what did he hate about his childhood home?




    I grew up in suburbia; where the houses sat on tree lined streets with houses packed in orderly rows and people did orderly things.


    This seemed like reason enough for me back then and today as well.

    I am pretty sure most women and most men on this site would not get this. If I shared this on a hunting forum or a dog forum, they would have accused me of stating the obvious.
    Last edited by Plasticweld; December 16th, 2017 at 03:28 AM.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  4. #4
    The ability to shoot in your back yard in your underwear while dogs go crazy, not caring what anyone thinks. Is about as close to true freedom as you will ever see :}
    Love this! I have a friend who lives on an acreage in Wisconsin. He told me on the phone once - on a really, really hot summer day - that he had gone outside in NOTHING, turned the sprinkler on and just meandered about the yard like a five year old, because no one could see him. I was so inspired by his description, that I even drew a picture of what I had seen in my mind's eye. Your story made me think of that. How fun would that be??? Could a woman ever do that? Good job, Bob - you are awesome.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  5. #5
    When we first moved into this little town years ago, we had hounds and coon-hunters living right in the city like normal folks. They've mostly moved out to the ridges now though. The coons have stayed. (Possums are gone now though, or at least have figured out how to cross the road.) One thing us metropolitan folks like is for our numbers to be mostly wrote out in words, I guess all those numerals make it look like gang-graffiti or something to us. One of the big problems with a forum like this, in terms of critique, is familiarity, especially when it comes to memoirish. So questions of implied motivation are obscured. To me this is just old PW doing his sermon thing again. Which makes perfect sense. As pointed out before, a couple of the fragments here are egregious and ought'a get fixed.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  6. #6
    Member dither's Avatar
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    Loved the story PW.
    I to used to dream of living in a setting like that, not for coon-hunting of course, but in England I could only dream.
    If i post a comment on a "WIP", LOOK! I'm a reader that's all, and i can only tell how i feel, as a READER, giving/offering feedback. Hoping to learn and grow here. So please, tell me where i'm going wrong.

    Me? I'm just a fly on the wall.

    Look! I'm trying, okay?

    One can but dream, if only i had dared.

    "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong" Mahatma Gandhi.
    Alas, i am weak.

    I must find a way to Eastbourne and i so wish that i could dance.

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