A Place with No Adverbs

Every morning after dropping the kid at the school bus stop the dog and I walk down to the park.

It’s a small park. One small block of mowed lawn with a gazebo and a fountain, and a community center across the street. On each corner sits a stone park bench, flat, no back. The four of them are like squat Stonehenge monuments. Polished, knee-high slabs of gray granite .

They are monuments. Engraved in each of them is someone’s name “in memory of.” Each has a verse to go with the name, but the inscriptions don’t say who the person to be remembered was, or what he or she is to be remembered for. Some of them might be town fathers whose names are known only to members of the historical society. Others may be people who helped fund the park restoration. I suspect they are people who bought the benches as monuments to themselves.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Jay, NY is 2,506. That’s for the whole town which covers the hamlets of Jay, Upper Jay and AuSable (pronounced “aw-sable”) Forks, as well as 68.3 square miles of wilderness. The park is in the Hamlet of Jay, population closer to 300. By the time the dog and I got there this morning a little past 8, the only other visitors were a few crows and a chipmonk.

The morning fog, typical of adirondack river valleys in fall, covered the scene in a thick blanket. The trees at the other end of the block appeared as dark silhouettes in the mist. A lone car passed, then three utility trucks turned at the corner, breaks squealing. Then quiet.

The crows took flight and the chipmonk scampered up a tree as we crossed into the grass, leaving the whole park to us. We did our customary loop around the perimeter. The dog peed on the base of each of the granite memorials in turn.

Another car rushed by, speeding. Either the guy doesn’t know the 35 mile-per-hour stretch through the hamlet is a favorite state police speed trap, or he doesn’t care.

We are alone again, the dog and I. We head home, because it’s time to report our daily trip, without benefit of adverbs, to the September class of Writing 101.

Note: The point of this post is to paint a scene of a public place without using adverbs. After the 1st draft I went back and found three had snuck in. I think I’ve removed them all, above. But it’s possible you may still find one. Maybe more than one. If you do, please note it in the comments! Thanks.

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