Communities are built on the shoulders of humble giants who quietly answered the nation's call to fight wars, then came home and built businesses and families and communities prospered because of their efforts. Two old men sit on a bench around court square and remember their lives and observe the changes in the community they helped build. Life's tales, tragedies and lessons come from discussions on the Bench. Community and personal values, dating back to Biblical times are discussed at the Bench.
Dotted all over our great country are courthouses found in towns, usually small, designated as the county seats. Within the courthouses are official offices where the citizens pay taxes, record real estate deeds, receive vehicle license plates, and there are various civil and criminal courts where lawyers plead cases. Courthouses are busy places.
Many are located in the central city, and the metropolis grew and swallowed the land around it. In the smaller communities the courthouses are protected by a court square of trees, grass, and simple benches. The square is a memory of what the city was before concrete, steel and glass took over the side streets. It is a calm within the bustling storm.
Here, in this calm, in most small communities the court benches have been occupied for decades. Women and children pass by the seats on their daily chores and leave them vacant for the retired, old men.
Old warhorses who answered the nation's call, and fought in every war. Some warhorses built businesses, employing the citizens, and multiplying a dollar earned through all the merchants in town. They started the Community Chest, which became the United Way, and they started many other community charities. They were pillars in the Boy Scouts and Little League. They were the coaches or cheering in all sports. They started or served schools, and found ways to improve education at all levels. They were or remain leaders within their churches.
They served on multiple Boards of Directors and went to hours and hours of meetings for no pay. They led and were part of fundraisers for every good cause.
Some have shiny plaques and trophies engraved with their names gathering dust in their attics because they are too humble to display them on the living room walls.
These warhorses are the unsung, and often unseen heroes of every community. When they retire, they often retire to sit, remember, and rest on a bench on court square near the courthouse. They become invisible and forgotten. Most communities rest on the humble shoulders of these giants.
Tom Reed lives and writes on a small farm with his wife, Judy, in rural West Tennessee, shared with an abundance of critters. Prior to writing, he retired from a career in health care management and was active in many community organizations. This is his fifth book of fiction.