by The Critic
A quick mornings reflections while getting to work early and almost being late.
Writer's Cramp prompt: Create a new recipe with thes items: A Writer, A Lover, A Composer, a man and a woman.
Word count: 996 (before title and prompts)
The man was sitting on the park bench on the Main Street side of the Court House courtyard. His gray rumpled suit looked like he had been there all night. Yet, he appeared alert and clean. Noticeably the man was more physically clean than the standard run of the mill town drunk, or bum. Often many towns’ people come and sit for hours under the great oaks in the Court House courtyard, but usually not this early, and certainly not normally when it is this chilly.
It was early and I was rushing to get set up for court that morning before the typical court crowd arrived. As I walked toward the old huge marble, granite majestic looking building that has served as the seat of justice and all other local government affairs for as long as I can remember, the air felt fresh, sharp, and crisp. On my face I could feel just a wisp of a breeze that seemed to occasionally blow through every few minutes or so. If this were a picture it could possibly look like a bright, warm spring day almost. The stark bare trees intermingled with the evergreens, and not as much as even a flower petal in sight gave witness to fact that this was definitely winter.
My pace slowed to a crawl as I remembered that it was not that many years ago that I spent considerable time in this courtyard with many of my friends almost every weekend, and certainly all summer. The routine remained the same for most of my youth. The weather did not matter to us back then either. Just like the man on the bench, we would be here very early. Our bicycles would be stacked six or seven deep leaning against all four sides of several of the large oak trees. It was funny how the trees did not look as big now as they were then. Even now the massive array of tree branches made a beautiful natural canopy that provided a sense of shelter.
I had to stop walking. I was quite comfortable standing under the canopy of the massive oak branches that had always been there in the quite courtyard that had served as my home away from home. The feeling that I was caught in a time warp having a vision from my past became evident when I could see Jimmy Martin sitting crossed legged in his usual alcove under the bushes. I know that he is a successful songwriter and composer in New York, where he lives with his high school sweetheart Liz Morgan. They have been married happily for years now. I have always thought to myself that they were probably so happy together because they never had any children. They do seem to have a tendency to collect books and people. Last year at our ten year high school reunion Jimmy and Liz brought some nearly famous writer with them who read excerpts from several of his books, and Jimmy provided us all with our very own CD of his latest recordings of his classical compositions.
I allowed myself to continue on this journey back through time, consciously aware of the fact that I was standing in the courtyard watching scenes replay like a video recording of my past. I saw Becky and Johnny sitting on the red and black boldly checked blanket that Becky always carried in her backpack. They always sat so close together, and we all wondered what it was they appeared to be talking to each other about constantly. Johnny had always considered himself such a lover. He was an attractive, all-American looking boy, in a young Harrison Ford kind of way. In the end I guess Johnny was the lover he always thought he was since he ended up being shot and killed in our city Mayor’s private fishing camp. Just about everyone in this little town new that Johnny was having an affair with the Mayor’s wife except the Mayor. It was classified as an accidental shooting, since the Mayor claimed he thought Johnny was an intruder.
The town folks around here never did approve of that big city, fancy woman that the Mayor had married. The same year that he supposedly accidentally shot Johnny that woman he had married while on some official city business in Baton Rouge just disappeared off the face of the earth. Most of the courthouse employees are all relatively sure that the Mayor would not have been reelected if he were still married to that woman.
I can see Margo sitting on her favorite low hanging tree limb reading. She is the Master Librarian at the main branch now. Todd Simon is the Sheriff after serving six years in the Marines. Mindy is the Home Economics instructor at the Cedar High, and Webb Ward is the football coach. Webb and Billy were constantly tossing a football back and forth to each other. One or the other always had a football with them no matter where they were. One year during midnight Christmas services the priest actually stopped in the middle of one of his more long-winded sermons, and walked straight to the pew where Webb was sitting directly across the aisle from Billy. Father took the football that they had been passing back and forth to each other, walked right back up to the pulpit, plopped the football in plan view, and started preaching right where he had left off just like nothing had happened.
This is only a smidgeon of the memories that I was playing back in my minds’ eye when I realized that I had been standing in the chilly wind blowing through the courtyard for just over an hour. The early start that I had planned on was now nothing more than just wishful thinking. I would be lucky to grab a cup of coffee before I had to take up my position in the courtroom.