The table lies abandoned and neglected, suffocating fresh
blades of grass. The blistering sun's arms chip away at the
decaying paint. The only attention it receives is from a
colony of black ants which infest the cracks and crevices.
This splintered wooden table once had a life, when it
provided rest under the shadow of an umbrella made of
orange tree leaves, when grapefruit pits replaced ants and
banana peels adorned the surface like a table cloth.
We spent countless summer days sitting at this wooden
table. The seats were reserved for my brothers, grandpa and
me, however, the places were never permanent assignments.
We needed to periodically rotate our spots for fear that my
grandpa would break through the center of the bench and
fold us up inside.
The location of the table provided a grand view of the
entire backyard, beginning with the half-empty pool, to the
half-flooded surrounding concrete. From this look-out,
point my younger brother surveyed his sprouting tomato
plant and I could supervise my cardboard lizard motel,
which provided shelter for lost reptiles.
In addition to its significance as a surveillance tower and
snack rest, the table possessed industrial value, as the
location for our kite production line. All four of us took
part in this activity, each with a designated chore. Age
established the seating order, and each position required
the completion of a different task. Since age best
indicated ability, my younger brother gathered supplies,
and broke a fresh piece of wood from the volunteering
orange tree, displaying its branches daily. My other
brother and I, equal in age, remained equal in
responsibility. We held together the branches in a diagonal
shape, while my grandpa, far superior in years, secured the
pieces with yarn in the most aerodynamic way possible.
Our table production line continued until the surface
became dull from its frequent use, and the legs splintered
from the weight imposed on its aged back. When the sight of
the dilapidated table became too offensive for my parents
to support its location, it was demoted from the center of
the backyard, to a hidden corner cluttered by outgrown
infant chairs and a rusted swing set.
This relocation symbolized our passing of age, and was
finalized by its replacement with a new wooden table. The
original orange tree umbrella has since folded up and the
kite, our pride and joy, was stolen by the jealous wind.
Yet memories of the old wooden table will never die and
will remain in my mind forever.
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