Despite the double impact of Covid-19 and of the Company’s eternally, incapable management, the HOURWAY COMPANY, LLC, located in the City of Sharp Bedsprings, Iowa, still might truthfully, boast that it remains the third largest manufacturer and distributor of doorknobs and doorstops in the Mid-Western United States. Since the advent of the Covid pandemic, the solicitous management acceded to the protective policy, by which its sales, advertising and general staff (including bookkeeping) were permitted to work from their respective homes “virtually,” by television. It did specify, however, that, during working hours, all employees, mandatorily, were to wear, his and her, brown and yellow, woolen company stocking hats, to preserve and maintain the sense of company élan, loyalty and communality.

Every two years, on May 1, without fail, the HOURWAY Company, traditionally, hosted a biennial, Company outdoor picnic for its management and workers, with the single and joyless, exception of the particular year in which the Company’s keyhole design and manufacturing branch went into insolvency. Many especially devout employees, at such time, responsively, chose to attend at their respective houses of worship to pay their sincere last respects to that, sadly failed enterprise.

This year, the company and its employees were enthusiastically, looking forward to May 1 and the traditional company picnic, despite the tenacious persistence of the infectious, Covid virus; however, it mandated that each participant, attending and taking part in the company festivities, do so, virtually, in the same manner as their regular rendition of services, being especially mindful, for the purpose of the maintenance of appropriate spirit, to wear the Company woolen hat.

The Company, generously, arranged for a suitable, outdoor grassy field for the occasion, on which, all computer cameras, as desired, might be focused, to enjoy the various activities, especially, the Company engaged in musical entertainment. Included in such entertainment was the accomplished accordionist and Company bookkeeper, Mr. Salvatore (“Sal”) Hepatica, and his girlfriend of twenty-two years, the highly skilled, baroque, violinist, Ms. Conception (“Connie”) Pizzicato, the latter to be accompanied, by alto harmonica, played by young, buck-toothed and precocious,  Dewitt Hourway, Jr., the Owner’s, corpulent and heavily acne’d, teen-age nephew.

Unfortunately, on the appointed day of the Company’s virtual picnic, rain fell hard on the special events field and Sal had an untimely attack of his chronic gout. Ms. Pizzicato, playing solo, did her best to replicate, a somewhat, identifiable version of Vivaldi, but the heavy rain interfered with her bowing, and the music sounded like a concomitance of religious dirge and military march (if that can be aurally, envisioned). The only redeeming musical entertainment seemed to be the alto harmonica version of “Old Folks at Home,” energetically, and dutifully, delivered, (but, under the meteorological circumstances, hard to hear) by the indomitable, and circumstantially, frenetic, Dewitt Hourway.

There, unfortunately, were two employee injuries, identically caused, by slipping, while, running, impatiently and carelessly, during the course of the Official picnic between the location of their T.V. screen and their respective, slippery tile bathrooms. Accordingly, calls were resolved to be, timely, made to the Company Lawyer, Mr. Larry Whiplash, to inquire whether, under the circumstances, viz., the injuries taking place, (virtually), during the Official Company Picnic, a claim might be made under Iowa’s Workman’s Compensation Law. The lawyer’s stereotypical response was, “I’ll get back to you.”

A few days following the Company event, every employee was given as a treasured memento of the successful event, a company manufactured, doorknob and a commemorative, gold colored doorstop, containing his, and the Company’s name, and the date of the event.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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