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Paynesville Press - January 26, 2005

Three ninth graders at Paynesville Area High School have become published authors. Ninth graders Kayla Lieser, the daughter of Judy Granzow, Cassey Lund, the daughter of Barb and Lee Lund, and Chris Van Eps, the son of Dennis and Jean Van Eps, all have had short stories published in the 2004 edition of the book, "Anthology of Short Stories by Young Americans."

The trio wrote the stories last year as eighth graders at Paynesville Area Middle School as a class assignment and submitted them for publication as extra credit.

Kayla Lieser's essay:
Peg's family gathered at her grandma's on Easter day. Her uncles were sitting in the living room watching TV, and her aunts were sitting around the kitchen table visiting. As she was sitting at the kitchen table, she could hear yelling downstairs from her younger cousins fighting over who got to play the video game next. While everyone was busy visiting, watching TV, or cooking, her two cousins, Kendra and Justin, were playing cards.

Peg went to join them to get away from everyone else. They played Skipo, 500 Rummy, and King's Corner until their grandma called to tell them that dinner was ready. The kids sprinted up the stairs for food while the adults stayed behind to help them. Dinners that their relatives make are so delicious. There were a couple salads, a main dish, vegetables, and desserts. You can usually find Peg or Kendra coming back for more. They both ate tons of food and felt pretty lazy and fat after eating so much. All they could think about was all the calories they ate, so they were thinking about what to do to get rid of some calories.

The weather was so beautiful! Most of the snow had melted and the sun was shining so they thought it would be perfect to go for a bike ride down to the Crow River. Kendra and Peg had gone before with a few of their cousins, but they wanted to go alone this time. They told their parents where they were going, grabbed a handful of food, and headed out.

Kendra, who's a bright and talented fifteen-year-old girl, decided that she was going to walk instead of bike. As they were on their way there, they talked about the funny times they had together. One of the crazy times was when Peg came out to Kendra's cabin, a cabin on Rice Lake, and Kendra's parents weren't home. They took the boat out, but couldn't get it started. It was a lot of trouble to get the boat exactly the way it was before, so no one would find out. That was a good laugh!

The traffic was pretty heavy being it was a holiday weekend. As they came up to the river, Peg jumped off her bike and hid it in the trees. There's a sand bar that they walked to first to skip rocks. Kendra was always the best at that. Peg's usually sink right to the bottom. Together they chased frogs and decided to walk the path along the river. They walked slowly down the path just enjoying the marvelous weather until they came across a fishnet. Someone must have brought a new fishnet and came out to the river to use it, but forgot to take it home with them. Kendra, the funny girl she was, took the net, took her shoes off, and jumped in the water.

Peg asked, "Kendra, what do you think you are doing?"

"I'm going to catch some fish, you should come in too."

"No thanks, maybe later."

While she was splashing and waddling in the water, Peg hunted for some pretty flowers. She mostly found dandelions to bring back for her mom. As she bent down to pick another flower, she heard Kendra yelling, "Come here, come here!" Peg thought she was in trouble, so she ran to her. When she got there all Kendra was holding was three minnows in her net and a big smile on her face. Kendra was pretty proud of the fish she caught.

They were both starting to get tired so they sat on the bench for awhile to rest. As they were resting, they came to a conclusion that they would go on the other trail that was longer. The trail, which was long and curvy, was filled with little peeks of sun sneaking through the trees and the sounds of branches snapping while the squirrel jumped from tree to tree. The path had leftover leaves that had fallen from the trees and had been covered by the snow.

They came up to another sand bar that they hadn't noticed before. Kendra, who was already dripping wet, wanted to jump in again. Peg wasn't going to join her, but Kendra splashed her so she was wet anyway. Peg slowly walked in to let her body adjust to the cool water. Peg was just swimming around when Kendra disappeared, and she didn't know where she went. She figured she got out of the water and was going to jump in to scare her.

She called her name, but she didn't respond. After she didn't answer Peg got nervous because maybe Kendra was in trouble. Kendra had passed all levels of swimming so Peg hoped she was just doing some fancy trick underwater.

Just then Peg heard Kendra snicker, "Hey, watch this!"

However, Peg couldn't see her. "Where are you?"

"I'm going to dive into the water," Kendra said, as she was waving her arms from a tree that had fallen over into the river.

"Do you know how deep it is?" Peg asked uneasily.

"It's plenty deep."

Peg told her not to, but as she said NO Kendra started running to the end of the tree. Unfortunately, before Kendra tried to jump her foot slipped and she fell from the tree and landed on her side on the rocks.

"Kendra!! Are you okay?" Peg yelled, as she ran out of the water.

Peg didn't hear an answer so she ran as fast as she could to her. Holding her leg in pain, Kendra was lying on the rocks. Peggy told her not to move and asked where it hurt. She was dazed and said she didn't feel any pain. Peg picked up her hand from leg to reveal the gash she had on her leg. She must have been scratched by a branch on her way down. She started to moan in pain so Peg kept telling her to stay calm because she was going to take care of her. Kendra didn't seem to have any major neck or head injuries, so the next thing Peg had to do was find a way to take care of her leg. Peg had a light jacket on that she wrapped around her leg as a bandage. Peg noticed a little bump on her head. Kendra sat up and said she could walk, but Peg figured it would be a bad idea, but they still had to find a way to get back to Grandma's. Peg thought she could run back and get help, but didn't want to leave Kendra in case she went unconscious.

The decision Peg made was to put her on her back and carry Kendra. Grandma's wasn't too far away, but Peg would still have to take breaks along the way. Peg thought it would be the best way to go. She told Kendra the plan and she hopped on Peg's back. Peg did her best to walk fast, but save her energy.

Breaks were taken where there was a bench so Kendra could sit and see how she was doing. She complained about her back hurting and sores on her side. Peg kept comforting her and saying they would be at Grandma's soon.

After what seemed like an hour of walking they were back at Grandma's. Everyone rushed over to see what happened. Talking and taking breaths Peg explained what happened. Peg was just happy she was fine except for a cut and a little bruising. Kendra then woke up and thanked Peg for taking care of her.

"It was quite an adventure, but we pulled through," Peg said smiling. "There's no reason to thank me, that's what friends are for."

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