Have Cup Will Travel
The little red cup went for a ride on the back of a long legged pony. It wasn't an epic adventure, a wild ride, nor a vision quest. It was merely a break in a busy life, away from city lights and crowded streets, a refresher in what life really is, a glimpse into the past, side glance of the present, and hopeful stare into the future. But what really is life? Really? It's a toss between anything you want it to be and what is given. I choose to be somewhere in between, more towards the 'want it to be', but happen to closer to the given end these days. But this ride was a token nod that the path is beginning to swing the other way. Slowly, but surely. So, like the hobos of lore, and the nomad at heart, the little cup was tied to the back bag and along we went for a weekend ride. Three of us -Ed on his KLR, Bryan on his GS1200, I on the DR- took the low roads, the back roads (if they can be called that), out of the Fort Worth area and headed north. The magnet that seems to be hidden somewhere in the Wise County courthouse and on the town square in Decatur drew us into its comfy quaint squareness for a cuppa Joe. It seems that the waitresses at the Courthouse Cafe know us by now, based on the congenial "Well, how are you doing? Coffee? Be right with you!". As we sat outside at the rickety green plastic table, sipping cups of coffee (mine with several floating ice cubes ), I flashed on a similar scene more than a decade ago. Sitting on a bench outside a frame shop on Second Street in Corvallis, Oregon, my ex-husband and I nearly collapsed in our seat. The bench was about to disintegrate from wood rot. After arriving home that afternoon, Cleve disappeared into the barn with noisy table saw, drill and planers for the next several hours. I attended to the ranch chores of cleaning the sheep pens and fixing fences. Just before dark, Cleve hauled out a long reddish-yellow wooden bench exuding that essence of cedar that hangs in the air and tickles the nostrils, pushed it into the bed of the pickup truck and drove away. He didn't say a word about it when he returned much later, nor did I ask. The next morning, we drove into town for that once-in-awhile pancake and sausage breakfast at the local restaurant. After wards we walked with coffee in hand to a familiar bench in front of the frame store, sat and drank our coffee. Bill, the proprietor of the frame store, opened his shop while we were just about finished with our coffee. He looked at that bench, at us, shook his head and walked back in. He knew where the bench came from. In my living room is a large painting of a wolf that I found on our couch one day after I got home. In the bottom corner was a familiar signature 'B. Shumway'. Next to it was another painting. Nothing said. No need for words. That's how life is in small towns. As I sat there at the rickety table, our coffee spilling on its surface, I laughed when the idea popped into my head of building them a small wooden table to replace this one. Just bring it in, drop it off and leave. A gesture on how much we appreciate their friendliness and them being there. It's what life is in small towns. It was a good way to start a weekend.