The bench rests beside the door to an office among animal barns on the Warren County Fairgrounds. The bench is shiny dark green with engraved letters filled in with white paint. I can’t see who donated the materials for the bench because my mother is resting there, glazed golden by the setting of a hot July sun. She seems to be peering through her sunglasses at something across the way, watching the 4-H girls passing by in their Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots, or she could be daydreaming about past fairs. Behind a high fence just across from her, the harness races are getting underway. Her father raced on that track, so maybe she’s remembering his blue, white, and silver jacket that she sewed herself. The sound of the hoofs, of the announcer’s voice, the smell of hay, dust, and manure may be recreating one of the old races she watched from the stands with her mother and her young children decades ago. Her parents are gone now, the children middle-aged, but the fairgrounds remain, and this barn with the office; and although the Westside Fanatics 4-H Club bench looks new, the experience of sitting there is sweetly familiar and mellow with age.
NUDGE: Pick out a photograph you took and write about it as if you don’t know what’s going on in the picture. Zero in on seemingly insignificant background details, speculate on what the subject(s) is/are thinking or talking about and what might be going on just out of camera range. Draw on any sensory details you remember, but don’t put yourself in the writing except as the narrator looking at the photo.