Those Name Plates

table1I’ve been wanting to write this post for a month but one thing or the other – mainly my dental ills – have interfered with me getting this post up. Even now, I worry I won’t write it quite the way I wish but here it goes.

The gathering pictured above took place Labor Day weekend. The pavilion is new as are the tables. My dad’s church built it and dedicated the facility and the tables to different people who at one time had belonged to the church but who have since passed on.

I was actually the first person to ever use the place, long before it was dedicated. I took my laptop out there every day after it was built and used the first table pictured on the left to get work done while enjoying the sunshine. I love working outside that way. The table was a fitting place as it is dedicated to my late mother.

There is a little gold name plate screwed into the table with my mother’s name on it. A fitting memorial because she use to sit out here at church events and enjoy their picnics and socialize with everyone. I recall fondly taking her to the last July 4th picnic she enjoyed here. It was a sweltering affair but she was glad to go.

The name plates have stuck with me though. They remind me of little name plates you see in historical churches, often placed upon a pew. A plate indicating so and so use to sit here every Sunday. Who was so and so? No one really knows for the person who bought the plate is long gone as well but hey, there is a name plate.

And it is that fleeting nature of the plates that struck me for this was probably the only event I will ever attend here as I am moving on myself. My father just retired and may not be around for any more events either. I can feature five years from now someone sitting down with their grilled hamburger and hot dog, swatting away some flies, and in between bites asking who the lady on the plate was. Maybe an old-timer still hanging around will recall but chances are, people will shrug and continue eating.

We convince ourselves that we leave something behind but truth is, all we are we take with us. If you are building a monument to ‘leave behind’ forget it. Think I am kidding? Ever meet anyone who didn’t know who Charlie Chaplin was? Cleopatra? Their grandparents or your favorite sports star from when you were a kid? If you ever started a sentence with “I remember when … ” and no one else has a clue what you are talking about, then you prove my point.

My mom wouldn’t care really. She’d take it as it comes like she did most of life. She’d ask for a hot dog, loaded, but then chide you to make sure you didn’t drip any mustard on that name plate. After all, it tarnishes with time the way it is. 

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Categories: charity, Everyday Life, Food, health, religion | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Those Name Plates

  1. sanjbailey@gmail.com

    Your most powerful writing to date, Jett. I remember your eulogy to your beloved mother. It was the highlight of the funeral service. I differ in your opinion of what she might still care about and see in this world. I believe she knows and cares with great pleasure that a table has her name on it. I believe she is proud of her children and husband and follows your daily activities with pleasure. I believe she sees me and loves me. Safe travels, Jett. A fellow traveler, Sandy Bailey

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