Friday, April 2, 2010


popinjay\POP-in-jay\ , noun;
A vain and talkative person.

They just sit on porches and talk to themselves. Old men that never had anything to say to anyone before now rail against the fences lining their property defining the edges. Pop McGuintrey and Jay Cunningham, neighbors for fifty-odd years had never said more than a few words to each other. Their wives and families took over the day-to-day requirements of communication - if there were any - and really there hadn't ever been. The wives exchanged cups of sugar or flour or milk. The children called to each other and clambered between the houses. And unconsciously they all stayed away from the two men. The ones that worked hard during the day were generally left alone to recover in the evenings.
As widowers, though, there was nothing but time for talk and "Remember the time" became the favorite phrase. Each one surprising the other over how much they actually saw and just how much of what they saw actually affected them. Story after story they recounted their lives to each other, sometimes interrupting and talking over one another, sometimes not realizing they were telling the same story. Their wives became "the wife;" their sons and daughters became "the kids" for they were talking as much to only themselves as much as they were talking to one another.
And in the evening when their throats were hoarse and the stories had been worn down for the day, they would stay sitting out there, on the porches, sending the creaks of their rocking chairs echoing into the darkness.