Lamp Posts


So, I’m sitting at a sidewalk table having a bagel and coffee, watching people pass, planning the rest of the day.

I notice that my lamppost, the lamppost in front of my table, has a plaque on it’s base. Even stranger, I see that it is placed in a recessed area that is designed for just such a purpose.

Apparently the good city fathers purchased lampposts that not only gave light, but also acted as some sort of memorial. Was this in response for a need of memorials? Was the list of memorial requests causing a domino effect on the production of lampposts? Before me was a dedicated lamppost, complete with a plaque screwed on at a later date. I could barely read the content but the title word was very clear, “Attorney” Aha! A memorial for an attorney, everything he/she has done summarized in one word. How about husband or wife? Or father/mother?

Just as I was pondering the one word summary , and just before I was to lean even farther forward to read the name of the summarized, I noticed a movement coming from my left.

A woman was approaching with a small dog. The dog is on a leash but he is clearly pulling the full extent, covering as much ground as he can. He sees the lamppost and makes his way, grinding down his nails on the rough sidewalk. The lamppost is a boundary line, so he leaves his mark for other dogs. As the urine dribbles down across the embossed letters, I reflect that it is good to be alive, and not memorialized on lampposts.

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