“A Strange Day in July” – (My Version)

Hey all, I actually have a “short” story for you all today… enjoy… however I doubt that I’ll be reading this one out on Vlog My Blog.  Our English teacher recently asked us to write a short story from the ‘suggestions’ listed in “The Mysterious of Harris Burdick” written by Chris Van Allsburg back in the 1980s.  It’s a picture book with a title and line of text on each page.  We were to write a story using whichever page we wanted, but we had to title our story the same as the page, and somewhere in the story we had to include the line.

I chose ‘A Strange Day in July’ and the line I had to use was, “He threw with all his might, but the third stone came skipping back.”


A Strange Day in July – Version by Ben Nelan

I miss my granddad.  He taught me so much, opened my mind, showed me a world that I could never have experienced without him.  But now that he’s gone, so much has been revealed; the patterns he always told me about, they’re all there.  The rules that he made now make complete and unquestionable sense.  Let me run you through it; I want you to know about him too. I want you to know about his wisdom.

It was Friday afternoon, the 20th of July.  My sister Sophie and I had survived another long week of school and had come home to our granddad’s house.  We’ve been staying with him ever since our parents ‘ran off.’  Granddad told us that they had things to sort out and that they’d be away for a little while.  Seems strange, from memory he said the same thing when Grandma disappeared a few years ago.  Grown-ups must have an awful lot to sort out.

My granddad’s property is very large; if you can imagine a lush, swamp-like farm with long-grassy fields and a large wooden panel house overrun with vines and weeds sitting in the middle of it; you’re still not getting the full picture.  This place is beautiful beyond description; there is nothing that can capture it.  Granddad works a lot with wood, his property is mostly surrounded by forests and twirling trees but he only ever uses the wood from trees that have already fallen down.  All of the fences on the farm are natural. They’re rough wooden fences that look like they were grown by the complexity of nature itself.  On most of the corner posts there is an engraved message that says things like, “Nature is our purpose,” and “Watch as the sunrise flows through the mist and the leaves of the forest, and you will feel the truth.”

Every afternoon, just like this one, my granddad and I would walk out to the lake; a 3 minute walk. In fact, the lake is even within eyeshot of the house.  Yes, the view from inside staring out to nature is good but from behind glass you’re just putting yourself in captivity.  That’s why I can’t understand why my sister didn’t want to come to the lake with us this particular afternoon. Normally she too enjoys coming with us to the lake; I don’t know what’s with her today.  Granddad and I walked through the long damp grass; the ends of our jeans getting wet. I looked up towards the forest. The sun was setting and streams of golden light were shooting through the tops of the trees; the wind was cool and moist.  Before we knew it, the journey quickly absorbed by our engrossment with the nature around us, granddad and I stood at the lake together for the last time.  We normally come to the lake, he and I, we skip a stone each, but never more than one.  Granddad says that it’s disrespectful to nature to throw stones into the lake consecutively.  “Skip anymore than one stone and you’re being greedy Albert,” he had told me when Sophie and I had first visited the lake with him. Grandma was around then.  The restriction on ‘skipping stones’ didn’t bother me though because the trip for me wasn’t about the stones; it was about being with granddad. Continue reading ““A Strange Day in July” – (My Version)”