This particular morning they were all gathered there around the tree. The older women began laying out blankets for a picnic, while the younger kids were opening up their sports bags, emptying out the baseballs, bats, gloves and other paraphernalia, ready in case they had time to get in an inning or two. The assorted pets were present as well. The fat and sassy cats and the ever loyal dogs, all had come, ready to serve, just in case.
Even though they were competitors in the quest for the daily inclusion, close bonds had formed between some of these characters. Yes, there were those few that groused (a-lot), some that just just wanted to be left alone until their turn came and even a few that were so weird or evil that no-one wanted to have anything to do with them, but for the most part, the group as a whole, got along pretty well.
The old men, were the main grumblers. They would shuffle out each morning toting their packs of cigarettes and bottles of bourbon, claiming the shady spots for themselves and readily prepared to use their canes to knock the crap outta anyone crossing into what they believed to be their territory. They did enjoy watching the kids play ball however, and while there was no real evidence, it was thought that gambling on the outcome of the game was one of their favorite pastimes while they were biding their time.
The really elderly women, with their assorted misfortunes; lost loves, perpetual Alzheimer’s, or secrets still hidden, enjoyed passing the time comparing notes with each other. While often their adversity seemed to travel the same road, they all felt that it was “how they had overcome the situation” that was the key to making them special. They would practice their whining, their soft smiles and their far-away looks on each other; better to be safe than sorry, should they be called upon.
The kids ranged in age from newborns to early 40’s, the former still in cribs, the later either suffering through their own angst or succeeding where their parents had failed. They pretty much ran the gamut and since they all were related in some way, fingering any of them was like making a selection from a Chinese menu, one could mix and match and multiple choice was acceptable as well.
The middle-aged women made up the largest contingent. They came in all shapes, sizes and colors. Most were sharp witted, able to overcome most obstacles in their quest for whatever and pretty damn loyal to one another. Their feelings ran the deepest and their souls embraced both life and death equally well. They had become the glue which held everything together and the rest of the group relied upon them most of all.
Suddenly it was time. The oldest geezer, patriarch of the conclave, stood up and proceeded to make his daily opening remarks.
“OK, everyone gather ’round for a moment. The time is here. From what I can glean, today’s topic is a location, This is why we are all gathered in this field under this lone standing “Chestnut Tree” which must be the prompt for the day. Get in line, she has been to the kitchen, has gotten her coffee and is heading down the hallway to the computer. She is about ready to chose her characters…. so as always, do your best to help her tell her tales…and let’s be safe out there”
The Plot Thickens, Thursday:
A chestnut tree