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Fiction Happy

The feel of the cool smooth stone from his pocket brings back such sweet memories.

 “The key is to find the perfect stone. Not too heavy. A flat stone about the size of your palm.  Never choose round ones those are the least stable. If you find a triangular one; Well then you’ve hit the jack pot! "Gramps tells me as he bends down to examine the ground.

I crawl on my hands and knees searching for the perfect stones just as Gramps had described. I examine every rock and stone carefully turning each over rubbing for smoothness, feeling the weight of each in my hand. After collecting some acceptable ones, Gramps and I head closer to the lake.

 “Grip it just here, Evan, hold it with your thumb and middle finger. Put your thumb on top of the stone. Never hold around the edges.”

"Like this Gramps? “ I ask eager to please him. 

“Yes, now stand up straight, turn slightly towards the lake. That’s it. Move your left leg forward. Lower your throwing arm.”

I stand imitating Gramps’ posture and stance angling myself towards the lake.

“You’ve got it my boy.” He pats me on the back smiling.

 Positioned side by side Gramps and I practice throwing out and and down with our imaginary stones in hand. Neither of us forgetting to give a quick snap of the wrist to cause a spin.

“ I think you are ready, Evan. “ 

 Gramps’ words thrill me.

At the lake’s edge, Gramps moistens his pointer finger and holds it up to test for the speed and direction of the wind. Gramps tells everyone he was born with a skipping stone in his hand. Gramps is always willing to share his stories with anyone who will listen of how skipping stones kept him out of trouble as a young boy. He is known as Skipping Stone Stan in this valley and is somewhat of a legend. Gramps holds the record for the most stones skipped on Silver Lake. Gramps even autographed stones for tourists in the town’s old general store.

Gripping my stone and standing just as Gramps has shown me, I throw my first stone. Plonk. I throw my second stone. Plonk. My third stone. Plonk.

Think about like this, Evan. Gravity pulls down and force pushes up. When the force is greater than the gravity force the stone will bounce up. If not the stone sinks.”

I listen intently and nod my head as Gramps explains the physics behind the throw.

.

“Remember throw faster not harder. Quickness is better than strength.” Gramps advises as he demonstrates. 

His rock begins its effortless skip across the lake as I count. “1, 2, 3…….15,16,17…20, 21, 22 times.” 

 “You can do it, Evan. I know you can. That’s right. Left leg forward, throwing arm down.”

 My sixth stone skipped ever so slightly. But the smile on Gramps’ face makes my heart skip a happy beat. Gramps and I stood on the shore of Silver Lake for hours skipping stones, telling stories and laughing.

On our walk back to the cabin, I spot it poking out from the sand. A triangular shaped stone. I brush off the sand and slip the cool smooth stone into the pocket of my shorts. This was going to be the best summer of my boyhood.  

                        *********************************************    

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Happy 4th of July. This is Clara Collins, KWJW TV reporting live from Silver Lake in Mc Clean County. There is quite a crowd gathering here for the 5th Annual Skipping Stone Stan Memorial Fundraising Challenge . Now let’s welcome to the microphone the founder of this event Mr. Evan Monroe, physics teacher and grandson of the late Skipping Stone Stan. Good morning, Mr. Monroe.

“Good morning, Miss Collins and thank you for having me on your show.” 

“Mr. Monroe, tell us about this memorial fundraising tournament and what it means to you.”

 “My grandfather, known as Skipping Stone Stan to all the locals shared with me his love of skipping stones the summer I turned ten. He was a patient and encouraging instructor. My grandfather’s enthusiasm for his hobby was contagious and I have been skipping stones ever since. Sadly, that was the last summer we spent together here on Silver Lake.

“Thank you, Mr. Monroe for sharing your story with us. Now can you tell us what we can expect from today’s tournament?”

“The conditions this morning are excellent for skipping. The waters are calm with just a slight warm breeze. Our competitors are hoping it remains that way. A strong breeze or choppy waters would make it more difficult to throw plinkers.”

 “Plinkers; could you please explain?”

 “Oh, sure, I am sorry. Plinkers are big skips. Pittypats are what we call small skips. Each must competitor choose six stones from the beach area. Two stones are thrown with each turn. The stones must not measure more than three inches in diameter. All stones will be examined and approved by the judges. The judges count and record the number of skips each stone makes. The scores are tallied to determine a winner.”

“I understand your grandson, Jonah, will be competing today.”

“Yes, yes he is. This is his first skipping challenge. I am very proud of him.”

“I am sure you are. Thank you Mr. Monroe. Will you come back to talk with us after the challenge about the results?”

“Why ,of course, thank you.”

Leaving the stage, Evan surveys the area. There are about one hundred spectators on the lawn with picnic baskets and coolers filled with sandwiches and cold drinks. There are children gathering stones from the sand and placing them in brightly colored buckets. The pavilion is decorated with red, white and blue banners and flags. He hears the Veterans band begin to play the National Anthem and turns to face the large flag in the center of the park.

 Following the anthem, Mayor Matt Browning announces, “Let the skipping begin.” as he throws the first stone into the glistening lake. 

The judges are ready with clipboards and pencils as the first competitors ready at the water’s edge. Evan approaches his grandson,Jonah and places a gentle hand on his shoulder. 

“ You can do it, Jonah. I know you can.” Evan says smiling while turning the smooth stone over and over in his hand.

January 29, 2021 11:04

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2 comments

D. Owen
14:36 Feb 04, 2021

I have found writing 1000 words or more an exciting challenge as I try my pen at fiction. Thank you for your feedback.

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Emily Trucco
11:01 Feb 04, 2021

This is beautifully written. I loved the flow, emotion and continuation of the hobby being passed down through the generations. I was swept through from beginning to end. One typo - In the dialogue where Evan explains what plinkers and pittipats are, I think you mean 'each competitor must' instead of 'each must competitor'. I really hope you write more stories for this competition - I would love to see more of your writing.

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