The Chair Will Now Read The Minutes of the Last Meeting
By Jeff Baker
“All right. All right,” she said, over the hubbub. She looked out over the assembled crowd in the wan moonlight under the trees in the park. “The monthly meeting will come to order.” She banged her bronze gavel against the bronze podium, rustled her bronze skirts and glared at one of the crowd. “Mister Murdock. Put the paper down and join us please.”
“I can’t,” the bronze man holding the bronze paper said. “It’s attached to my fingers. And I’m not Mr. Murdock, they never did a statue of him. Not even a bust. I’m Everyman.”
“Nonetheless, please pay attention. The Moon won’t be up that long. I’ll mark you as here.”
“I’m here, representing the Civil War Memorial,” said a stone figure raising his hand.
“The Sailor,” the Chairwoman said. “Nice to see you again.”
“My turn in the rotation,” he replied. “The Cavalryman and the Army Man send their regards. They remain on duty this month.”
“Good to hear,” she said. “None of the wooden carvings made it this month, I take it?”
“They are rooted to the ground, remember?” said a bronze pioneer woman.
“Oh, that’s right,” the Chairwoman said. “Now, moving quickly does anyone…”
There was a rattling and a burst of laughter as a little bronze girl in her wagon rushed past, pushed by a giggling young man in a fireman’s outfit, followed by several bronze children and dogs.
“Order! Order!” the Chairwoman said, rapping her gavel with a series of clangs. “None of this during the meeting! You’re an adult, you should know better!” This last was addressed to the fireman.
“Oh, this is the only fun I get to have!” the fireman said, tilting his hat back. “Remember, I’m the memorial to the fallen firefighters.”
“So you are,” she said. “But please, play somewhere else if you must—oh, wait! Before you go, have you heard from your twin?”
The Minuteman statue in Riverside Park dated back to 1920. The artist who had cast the bronze Firefighter’s Memorial had copied the face and build of the young stone Minuteman. The 1920’s model supposedly had been a student from the College and had been paid fifteen dollars for posing.
“The Minuteman never leaves his post,” the young fireman said.
“Marked not present,” the Chairwoman said, scribbling in the bronze book with a bronze pen. “Does anyone know of anyone else who is not present?”
“What about the Keeper?” someone called out.
“The big Indian never shows up,” someone else said.
“They call them Native Americans these days,” said the Fireman.
“How would you know about ‘these days?’” asked the Pioneer Woman.
“I was only cast three years ago,” he replied.
The Chairwoman sighed. It wasn’t a bad thing that not everybody showed up. The modern sculptures were no help, and the big steel bison by the river had charged the crowd the only time he’d attended a meeting.
“Before we get down to the business of the evening’s gathering…” she began.
“We’ll play a game of Statues,” called out the bronze Jester from the theater. Even the Chairwoman joined in the laughter that followed from bronze and stone throats. When the laughter died down, she cleared her throat and went on.
“The Chair will now read the minutes of the last meeting.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The Fireman’s Memorial is fictional, but the other statues, bronze and stone, can be found in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. Including the Keeper of the Plains by Native Artist Blackbear Bosin. I have included a picture of the statue that really inspired this story!