Calvert City, KY (December 8, 2020) – Calvert City’s Youth Voice is a monthly writing contest developed for young authors between the age of 5 and 18. The fifth was the deadline for December and the winner is Thea Doran of Madisonville, Kentucky.

Calvert Area Development Association used a rubric judging system to choose the November winner. “We received 36 submissions and they were all wonderful,” said Blair Travis, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Business Development for Calvert City. Judges received the submissions with just the writings. They did not know how old the author was or where they were located.

Thea is an 8th grader at James Madison Middle School. She was born in Florida and moved to Madisonville in the sixth grade. She is 13 years old and loves singing and writing. Mrs. Iverson is her favorite teacher.

The next deadline for the monthly writing contest is January 1. Young writers are encouraged to submit original work in any style of creative writing. One winner will be awarded monthly.

Monthly winners will receive $50 and an ad in the Lake News with their published work. The deadline to submit work will be on the 1st of each month. This contest is not limited to Calvert City residents. We encourage writers from across the region to submit their original work.

For more information on Calvert City’s Youth Voice, please call City Hall at 270-395-7138 or by email at info@calvertcity.com.

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PAPA IS GONE
By: THEA DORAN

“What is wrong with dad?” I ask and ask, but he won’t respond. He pulls me out of the front school door. We stop at a bench. Daddy is looking off into the distance. He straightens and exhales before he speaks.
“Papa…”
A tear falls from his eye.
“Papa is dead.”

7 hours before
My mom walks into my bedroom and gently wakes me. I slowly opened my eyes.
“Thea, get up. It’s time for school.” I whine but get out of bed. Mama walks out to let me get ready. I pull on some clothes and slip out. I walk into the kitchen and mama is making breakfast.
“Hey, mama?”
“Hm?”
“Do you think I can see Papa? I haven’t seen him since he’s gotten out of the hospital.”
“Sure. We can even go today. I’ll pick you up after school.”
“Okay.”

I ate my breakfast and my best friend Sarah came over. Mom drives us down to the bus stop. I saw my boyfriend Robert and we sat on a curb and talked.
“So, how are you doing? With your Grandpa and everything?”
“I’m fine. I’m happy that he is done with lung cancer. I am going to see him today, though!”
“Well, don’t be alarmed when you see him.”
“I know.”

The bus pulled up and we all got on. I sit next to Robert and chit chat as we go to school. We pull up and get off. I stroll down the sidewalk and go into my building. The way my school is set up is, we have all grade levels. Elementary, next to it is middle, and next to that is the high school. College was right down the road. I’m only in 3rd grade, but I’m fine with it.

So many things have happened and I get to have my favorite teacher, Mrs. Roy. She loves to hang with us and we love to hang with her. Something happened during the school year, though. A student got mad and tackled her. He was throwing punches and she couldn’t get up. The whole class was crying and screaming. It took at least 30 minutes to get him off of Mrs. Roy. Yeah, it was pretty messed up. That happened maybe a month ago, but we are all doing better. The student was sent off to a detention facility.

Anyway, I get into class, say hello, and sit in my seat. Boring stuff happens, business as usual. Go to lunch, talk to Robert, and go outside. We came back in and I got called to the office to go home. I packed my things up and sprinted down the hallway, ready to see Papa. Or at least not this way. I slow to a walk when I see my Dad. He has his sunglasses on, inside!
I glance at the front desk woman, but she is doing something else. I turn my attention back on dad. I sprinted to him and asked what’s wrong. He says nothing. He nods to the woman and she nods back. A look of sympathy flashes through her eyes.

“What is wrong with Dad?” I ask and I ask, but he won’t respond. He pulls me out of the front school door. We stop at a bench and two people walk by. Daddy is looking off into the distance and his voice shakes with every word
“Papa…” A tear falls from his eye, “Papa is dead.”
“No, no. He can’t be!” I gasped.
“I’m sorry Thea, he died a little bit ago. Mama is at his house. We are going there to meet with her.”

I throw my arms around him and sob. We stood there for a while. After a minute, we walk slowly as we head to the car. Dad helps me get into the passenger side and he gets into the driver’s side. He starts the truck and holds my hand as we leave. I remember sitting there and thinking about all the times I spent with Papa. Which was a lot, since I was firstborn. I only had two other cousins. Madison, who was the second oldest, and Charlotte, who was the youngest. When we arrive, Mama is waiting for us. She was sobbing when Dad hugged her. I remember looking at his house, his big house with a pool.
“Can I go in there?”
“No sweetie, Papa isn’t looking his best right now.”
“Okay…” I paused, “how did he die?”
Mama’s breath shakes, “He died from a heart attack.”
“But why?”
“If God says it’s his time, then it’s his time.”
“But he was only 63!” I sob.
“I know…”
Mama kneels down to hug me. I embrace her and sob.

1 week later
Today was my Papa’s funeral. He was cremated two days before. My uncle, mama, and I had a speech when we were there. I was good at public speaking, but this was going to be hard. Uncle was speaking, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking over at my Nana, Papa’s significant other. She was crying, but she looked up at the cross with teary eyes. I lean into Dad as Mama speaks. Mama gets down and I step up to the podium.

“Papa was probably everything you could ask for in a Grandfather. He was kind, sweet, and spoiled his grandchildren. I should know this the best because of beating my cousins to this world,” I giggle and a couple of people chuckle, “but we all miss him. He helped me with my singing career, Madison with confidence, and Char with technology. We all miss him.”
The church applauds as I step down. A preacher goes up there and talks about how great he was. He doesn’t know anything. He’s just up there because he was getting paid. When he starts talking about God though, my opinion changes. When he’s done, people get up and come to shake our hands. Several people step on my feet and say how good I was up there.
To this day, I still miss him. He made a huge impact on everyone’s lives. My mom said he wasn’t the best Dad in her childhood. He was drunk and he got angry a lot. But he made up for that when I was born. He worked on himself and he got better.

I remember that when I was at his house after he passed, my aunt said something I would never forget.
“God made our bodies. He made them like cocoons. Like cocoons, a caterpillar goes in and stays there for a while. Like our souls. The caterpillar stays in there and changes. When it comes out, it is a butterfly. When we come out, we are a whole new person. Like God made us to be.”

Those words hit me like a train. Not then, but now as I think about them. We get put into a body, grow and change, get broken down and beaten up, but we come out again. Go to heaven and get a new body. A holy one. I miss the old guy, but I know he is looking down on us every day.

 

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