I sat in the diner next to my younger brother, the one we lovingly refer to as "the artist" because he is. We had finished taking in his latest flurry of art at a local gallery, and now it was time for the after-show. We walked down the street and found a little cafe that my son found fascinating because of its seemingly meme-inspired name, "Double Rainbow." We sat down at the counter, my family and I, ordered some refreshing beverages and an ice cream cone for my son, and that's when the memories hit.
We were sitting on stools covered in sparkling red vinyl. It took me half of my glass of warm tea to acknowledge the ringing thought in my head: "Just like the ones at the cabin." When we were much younger, and spent our summers in our cabin in the woods, my parents acquired a great many antiques to accentuate the rustic feeling we experienced day to day without running water, electricity or a telephone. Aside from the wood stove that provided us with heat and cooked our meals, the artifacts that got the most use were the three bar stools my father brought home and bolted to a plank, then shoved them right up to the counter that helped defined the kitchen area from the living room from the dining area. Three stools for three boys. There was a great deal of debate about whose stool was whose, but that wasn't the most annoying feature.
The sound they made. It never occurred to me until I was sitting there in the diner, hundreds of miles and decades removed that we were fortunate that our mother didn't chop us up into little pieces like the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Not because they squeaked. That would have been allowed in small doses, but the thunder that could be created by sitting on one stool and giving the adjacent one a good spin. "Thrudududududududud." Then another "Thrudududududududud." And another. There was no TV. "Thrudududududududud." There was no telephone. "Thrudududududududud." There was nothing to do. We had already absently followed the advice of the Von Trapps and climbed every mountain and forded every stream. There was nothing to do but "Thrudududududududud." Until my mother snapped. To be completely fair, she was and is the most patient human on the planet. She put up with three of us boys with our various complaints and frustrations with each other and the rest of the planet. She made things all right. "Thrudududududududud." Then she had enough.
"Out!" she would holler, and we knew that we had hit the target. We would scramble to get our shoes on and head down to the meadow or up the hill to the swing. We would rush out the front door, a screen door with a spring attached to it. The last words we would hear: "And don't slam the -" Too late. "Thrudududududududud." Sorry, Mom.