A Table's Tale: some truth and fiction

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  • humdingerslammer
    Full Flexer
    • Oct 2009
    • 1149

    A Table's Tale: some truth and fiction

    A TABLE’S TALE: some truth and fiction

    The table sat alone on a concrete walkway that surrounded several small shops - a bakery, a post office and newsagent, a fish and chip shop, a betting shop and a real estate office.

    As far as a table goes, there was not much that made it different from any other. Function conquered form, just like for the many millions made before it. Nondescript and unnoticed for the most part. Very agricultural, one could say.

    People walked past the table as they went in and out of the shops, depending on what they wanted to buy. As they left, hands full, some brushed by the table, thinking nothing of its austere presence in a world of noise and cars and people passing by.

    A man walked toward the table. Two elderly women sat by side by side at the table, deep in conversation with each other, biting off mouthfuls of cake between smiles and giggles and periods of intense listening to each other.

    As he walked past the table, the man asked the women “can anyone join in the gossip session or is it a closed court?” “Oh no” one lady replied, “come and join us”. So, he did.

    In just a few moments he had discovered their lives in a nutshell: their pride in their children and grand-children, their deceased husbands, their past work, and what they liked doing as they progressed through their years.

    The man did not volunteer much information. He simply listened and acknowledged their lives and their friendships.

    “I am on my way to the bakery. Would you like a cake?” he asked the women. “Ooo, no” they chorused, “we just had one and we are fat enough. Although the cakes here are very nice”.

    “Yes” the man said. “The custard tarts are just the best. I am going to buy some for my wife and one of her elderly friends”.

    “That’s nice of you” one lady said. “You are a very nice man, you know, for doing that”.

    “No, not really, just giving something to someone to brighten her day, that’s all”.

    He went into the bakery, bought the cakes, and said good bye to the women, wishing them a great day as he walked to his car.

    On another day, two small boys, brothers 5 and 7 years old, sat either side of the table. Their dad was with them, watching them as they finished off a toasted sandwich.

    As the man walked toward the bakery, the smallest boy caught his eye and asked him “who do you barrack for?”

    “No team really” the man replied. “My son and his mother barrack for Carlton and I sometimes barrack for Richmond”.

    “Ha” the little boy retorted. “Carlton lost yesterday and Collingwood beat them by seven points. And we all barrack for Collingwood. Mum and Dad too”.

    “Yes, I can see the Collingwood football” the man said.

    The dad started to chuckle, and the man gently teased the brothers about their loyalty to Collingwood, which is par for the course of being a Collingwood supporter. The dad was enjoying their reaction.

    “I see they both have hearing aids” the man said to the father. “Did they acquire their deafness from illness or were they born deaf?”

    The dad explained that both boys were born almost entirely deaf. Each has some hearing, enough for them to benefit from hearing aids for both ears. They would not need cochlear implants, the dad explained, because they have some hearing.

    “The older one is very articulate” the man observed to the dad. “Yes, he kept his hearing aids in all the time. The youngest one resisted it so he doesn’t speak so well, but he will get there”.

    The two boys munched away at their toasted sandwich. The younger one added titbits about Collingwood as he chewed away, gently teasing the man and telling him that he should barrack for Collingwood, not Richmond.

    The man laughed. “Only a kid can get away with that” the boy’s father said.

    “OK kids, I have to go. Enjoy your day” the man said, as he headed into the bakery.

    As he walked to the bakery the man thought how impressive it was that these boys had overcome adversity at such a young age, that they already had the spiritedness and presence of winners out to enjoy life and how great their parents had to be, to have achieved so much for these boys in such a small period of time.

    On his way to his car, the man stopped at the table and said to the boys’ father. “I enjoyed their chatter. I bought them a sausage roll each for you to give them. I hope that is OK”.

    “Oh, wow” the father said, “you didn’t have to do that.”

    “I know, but I enjoyed their repartee so much it deserved rewarding. Have a nice day”. And the man left.

    The table seemed an inanimate participant in these interactions. But, in reality, it was a silent witness and confidante to everything happening around it. It was a facilitator for the interactions of strangers, an experiential moment in the lives of those who decided to sit at it, to share a moment of peace and calm, or to talk and share with a friend or stranger.

    For all of its austerity and simplicity, its permanent fettering to a sunburned, rain drenched and wind scoured piece of concrete, the table was a medium through which people, old and young, friends and strangers, healthy and ailing, connected with each other, shared with each other and showed generosity to each other.

    May all tables be as blessed and treasured as this table clearly is and, whoever you are, and wherever you are, take the time to sit at a table, wherever it may be, and connect to the world.
    Last edited by humdingerslammer; 4 weeks ago. Reason: re-posted
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