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The Table of Knowledge

 

In our family business we have a freight table.  We recieve freight every morning-it actually arrives before we open up for the day.  We open six days a week, at 7:00 am.  Sharp.  This is the 50th year anniversary-my daddy would be so proud…Anyway, back to the story.  There is a select group of men, who have turned our freight table into “The Table of Knowledge.”  It’s really just a long table with mismatched chairs, which just happens to sit near the coffee pot.  Now, this all started years ago.  Probably  50 years ago.

Every morning this group of men shows up, some with their own cup, some not.  They sit around the table, drink coffee, shoot the bull, and gossip.  And argue.  Politics and religion will almost alway spark a fight.  Sometimes one of them will bring a box of cookies.  Or, if we’re real lucky, something homemade.  Get this-on several Mondays throughout the year, one of them brings a deep fried turkey and a loaf of bread.  At 7:00 in the morning.  I don’t remember how we started this tradition, but it’s the real deal.  When it’s “Turkey Monday”, we all eat fried turkey and bread like we haven’t ate for a week.  At 7:00 in the morning.  Nothing like it.

Over the years, we have watched the “men” age.  We have also had to grieve.  But, most of the chairs remain occupied.  Now, while my brother, dubs them “the free-loaders”, they do have to work a little for us.  Well, they don’t have to.   They just do.  On the first day of the month, we send out statements to customers.  Usually around five hundred.  The guys fold, stuff, and lick envelopes, then sort into towns.  This is serious business.  At least that is what they tell thier wives.  “No honey, I can’t help you run errands today.  I have to go to work.  It’s statement day.  They need me.”  This can get entertaining.  One of them could not resist telling the story about cockroach larvae in the envelope glue.  “Whatever you do, don’t cut your lip with the envelope.  I heard that happened to someone and he got a big bump where the cut was.  Went to the doctor and he opened it up, and there was a big cockroach getting ready to hatch.”  He says this to the whole table never missing a beat.  Fold.  Stuff.  Lick.  Sort.  Geez.  Everyone else stopped mid-lick.  Horrified.  They made me promise to start getting the peel and stick envelopes in the future.  No matter what they cost. 

Recently, we got a scanner to check in the freight.  Yes, we have been checking it in by hand, the old fashioned way.  But now, we are shooting right out there into the future with everyone else.  My coffee drinkers did not like the scanner, and they let me know right away.  “Can’t you shut that thing off?  We’re trying to visit here.”  Or, “Doesn’t that thing have a volume control.  Why don’t you wait and do that after we leave?”  Oh boy.

You gotta love ’em.

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