I am part of a WdC group called "WdC Super Power Reviewers". We are currently completing a St. Patrick's Day two-day "raid" of reviews, and this item in your portfolio fits one of the topics, "Irish".
I always like to point out that I'm no professional or expert, and that you can do as you wish with the feedback I provide. Ultimately, it is your decision what is best for you and your writing. My suggestions are given in love and with a hope to help us all grow closer to being the best writers we can be.
To begin, I have a question. At the very end, this began to read as if it was a eulogy or some other type of statement made at a funeral or memorial service. If so, it would help the reader to know that at the beginning. If not, is it just the narrator's reflections and thoughts about this significant individual in his/her life?
This story describes a special grandfather and his yearning to visit the home of his ancestors, Ireland. I get the impression that the family cares about him a lot and that he's a loving and wonderful man. Incorporating his favorite song at the beginning and end is a very nice touch.
The hook - -
You take us right into details about the person who is the center of the story. This works well as a hook.
Character Development - -
The grandfather is clearly developed in that we learn how he related to the overall topic, the song, and his dreams/wishes. There is not a lot of detail about the others, but not much else is needed for the reader to follow the overall story.
Scenery / Setting - -
There really isn't a focus upon scenery/setting, except for where they are at the closing of the piece.
Did this contest have a word limit? If so, that is to be somewhat expected with the limited word count. (Those are good things to note, for example at the bottom of the page/piece, if they can add important info for the reader.)
Plot - -
In general, we get a clear picture of the grandfather's wishes, the reasons he never got to see his dream come to pass, the meaningful gathering they all plan and take part in, and his death plus the final gathering.
Still, it seems to be lacking in detail at some points. The piece includes many simple sentences and very limited details. Perhaps additional details in terms of "showing" rather than "telling" could make this more gripping for the reader.
Mechanics/Punctuation/Grammar/Spelling/Etc. - -
Good use of the semi-colon in 1; I often see this used inaccurately.
see below - "Room for Improvement"
I tend to give very detailed reviews and suggestions, so if you are not interested in this part of a comprehensive review, please disregard that section.
Figurative Language / Imagery - -
1 = contains some sound imagery
2 = contains some sight/visual imagery
3 = contains some sight/visual imagery and some sound imagery
Room for Improvement - -
This piece does a lot of "telling" rather than "showing", often referred to as sections that are "info dumps". Perhaps some dialogue in the situations where these events are taking place, rather than just telling us that they occurred, could bring more life to the piece.
1 - Sentence 1 - - For these song lyrics, there should be quotation marks, a couple commas, and punctuation to avoid a run-on sentence. These are great lyrics. They include simile and sound imagery, and can really draw your readers in.
No need for the last comma in this paragraph.
2 - Sentence 1 - - No need for the semi-colon in the first sentence; a comma would do the job.
Sentence 4 - - For "TV", it seems standard to either capitalize this or spell out the whole word.
Sentence 8 - - No need to capitalize "grandma" the way it is used here: "My Grandma got tired of them,..."
3 - Sentence 1 - - No need for the first comma. Again, for "TV", typically you'll either capitalize this or spell out the whole word.
Sentence 2 - - reads awkwardly - reword?
Sentence 3 - - reads awkwardly - perhaps rearrange commas?
last sentence - - reads awkwardly - reword?
4 - Sentence 3 - - To combine to complete thoughts into a compound sentence, use the conjunction as you have done, but also add a comma before the word, "and".
last sentence - - reads awkwardly - "got him cremated" - this can be reworded in a variety of other ways to read more clearly/smoothly
Possible clarification to increase interest/relatability?
- - "Unfortunately, he was too old to travel."
- Perhaps describe whether he struggled with walking, breathing, his bowels, etc., so the reader can understand this. Being almost 60 myself and retired, it doesn't seem realistic to just say "age" keeps one from traveling. (My parents in their 80s just returned from another trip to Thailand and Taiwan, for example.) "He had problems walking...", but many seniors travel using wheelchairs or motorized carts, riding in buses or riverboats (even trains) so they don't have to walk much or drive themselves, any more detail here would make this both more interesting and more relatable.
- - "As he got older, he had a difficult time even watching TV,..."
- Again, explaining this further would assist the reader's comprehension and get them more interested in your story. Many people, even in nursing homes, spend a large part of their days watching TV, so it's hard to imagine why/how someone would have difficulty with this task/activity. You mention that he would sit and listen to them, so was his hearing OK, but his eyesight was failing? With today's technology, could a larger screen TV or even a laptop with a magnifier screen be good modifications to keep his quality of life up?
- - "He never went there, for he never had the money to go, when growing up."
- You've explained why he did not or could not travel there as a boy or near the end of his life, but what about all those years when he was working, all of his adult years?
- - "We talked about all the great times we had with him."
- Add some examples? This would help your readers to know these characters better and thus care more about their feelings and what happens to them.
Final thoughts - -
This is a very heartfelt piece with a lot of potential.
I would recommend that you try to move away from successive simple sentences and add description including imagery, similes, etc.
Actually, there are some "Show vs. Tell" classes in WdC that I took recently. I thought they were quite interesting. You might want to look into these. If you're interested, let me know . . . since you're new to WdC, I would gladly pay the GPs for you to enroll. Just keep me posted.