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Ernest Hemingway - Footsteps of the Forest, a Short Story in the Hemingway Style
Literature 101 and History 101 - My First Year of College
I was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1974 and used the GI Bill to attend Triton Community College on the outskirts of metro Chicago - westside. I didn't know what to expect, but what a time it was. Rich beyond measure. Extraordinary professors, with dialogue and memories that lasted a lifetime.
My History 101 professor claimed to have dialogue with the great Greek philosopher/inventor/scientist Archimedes at least once a week. Several classmates and I regularly took him out for beers. I found myself actually enveloped in these ongoing conversations with Archimedes, seeing him in double many times that semester as I was no stranger to the drink myself!
The first lesson in Lit 101 was a 45 minute story about the character of Hemingway.The professor reported that Hemingway was in a drunken brawl in the streets of Paris one afternoon and that he was found spread-eagle, either knocked out or blacked out, in the middle of a major thoroughfare. However, he recovered handsomely and took Josephine Baker out for dinner that same night. The highlight of this story, IMO, was that Baker was reported to have donned a mink stole for the occasion...with nothing on underneath. Hemingway was "my guy" from that point on!!! WHEW-WEEE, what a MAN!!!
The professor came around to the technical genius of Hemingway, especially in his short story form. I don't remember the academic term, but the style was explained as a long deliberate tale that ended quickly and in tragedy; "The Old Man and the Sea" was his example. In this story the Old Man, who was near the end of his days, set sail in a small fishing boat to land a big catch so that he might survive a few days more without becoming the town beggar. Success...in a monumental fight of the fittest the Old Man landed the biggest Marlin his village has ever seen, though before returning to shore sharks had ruined the Marlin, leaving the Old Man with nothing but bones. A heartbreaking story, don't you agree?
After this lecture the class assignment was to write a short story in the same manner as the Hemingway tragic classic crescendo.
I hope you enjoy my humble tribute to Hemingway and my Lit 101 professor.
Footsteps of the Forest
Through the brush he could be seen searching rather fastidiously for the ferns which would maintain the thick texture of his coat throughout the winter. As he chewed he grunted and expelled enormous fumes of warm air which rose to blend with the snow on the evergreens that stood nearby. With every movement his rack slashed the thin crisp air authoritatively. He treated the austerity of his environment with arrogance. His guise was that of ritual.
Then, cold steel seared his warm flesh. The aim was held accurate. The hunter took the liver for his family's evening meal and would return in the morning for the carcass.