The Westside Fanatics 4-H Club Bench





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.

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