Conquian After Noon

That picnic table was twice as grey as smog just last year. A perfectly good collection of wood and bolts that just sat in the back yard with no one to spill a beer on it or dip hotdogs in mustard covered paper plates. That ash bench saw the leaves fall, all over it, later matted with snow and then muddies with rain the next spring. But, like every picnic bench, it had a life of ups and downs. Luckily for it, the craftsmanship was fine and its planks were twice the thickness of your average aging table.

Ordinary smiled down on the dirty and grime covering the old table today, as a lawnmower hacked away at the jungle of grass and dandelions surrounding the old picnic bench. The sky, it thought, was decidedly bluer minus the layers of muddy decaying leaves.

From then on, every Thursday afternoon, the lawnmowing man, along with his friends, played rummy or euchre or spades or poker or sometimes just sat around grilling food and drinking alcoholic beverages with foreign labels on them, all over the picnic table. Though the man did little to improve the weather-beaten, greyish wood, the very motions of their butts skidding across the benches or the soles of their shoes rubbing along the legs or their elbows quite mannerlessly scraping along the tabletop began to bring out a bit of a smoothing, if not a luster, to the wood. Paper cards numbered 2 through 10 and a few with the faces of Kings, Queens and men destined to hit the road passed over its surface. Laughs were had, the occasional shouting match, a few kisses and a plentitude of high fives (some higher than others.) For seven years these weekly meetings went on. One year they switched from Thursdays to Sundays as the crowd grew older and got more 9 to 5 jobs. A few of the faces would leave for a while, sometimes come back, or be replaced with newcomers. The beers quit being so foreign and started talking about Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the burgers gave way to chicken and salads. But all in all, life was good for a picnic table in a small city’s backyard. After all, everyone or thing wants to have a purpose, and whether that task might seem menial to some or heroic to others, it is simply necessary to the one with the purpose.

All in all, life was good.

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