His Chair

He was quiet, firm, and resolute.

He was dedicated to my grandmother.

He welcomed my hugs.

And he let me sit in his chair.

His Chair

His Chair

I don’t have a plethora of memories when it comes to my grandfather.  We lived seven hours away from each other my whole life.  My family would park our car on the dangerously sloping street, peel ourselves out of the hot car, decide whether to bring the books and barbies inside or wait to retrieve them later, and then descend the concrete steps onto the front walk of my grandparents’ house.  As we nervously waited on their front porch, we would quickly be welcomed by my grandmother’s fierce hugs and both hands to the cheeks-kisses.  And we would hug my grandpa.  We would then enter the house where we would attempt to encapsulate months of our lives into a quick highlight reel of quips and anecdotes.

Perhaps Solid Gold or some shopping network channel would be on the television.  The adults would gravitate toward the dining room table for games of pinochle to be contended.  Someone would be there soon with buckets of fried chicken to be added to the smorgasbord already on the kitchen table.  We would vacillate between our books or barbies or chatting with grandparents until cousins (finally!) began to show up and we escaped to the front porch swing or cartwheeling around the yard as if we had seen each other only yesterday.

His Chair

His Chair

As a young girl I learned one lesson very early.  People did not sit in Grandpa’s chair.  It was the same for Grandma’s rocking chair, but that made sense because she was most often sitting in it.  Even when Grandpa was gone from the house, people only reluctantly took his chair in the often full-to-bursting tiny living room.  But one time…one time…

I was sitting in his chair when he came home.  Some cousin whispered almost panic-like, “Get out of Grandpa’s chair!”  And I started to, nervous that something cataclysmic was about to occur, when Grandpa every-so-slightly shrugged his shoulders, looked at me and said, “It’s okay.  You can sit there.”

Now, generally I don’t trust my memory one bit.  But like Dory from “Finding Nemo,” there are just some long-term memories that can be relied upon.  And this scene, while maybe not as dramatic or colorful as I’m writing it to be, definitely happened.  And it impacted me.

I didn’t know my grandpa very well.  He was not a big talker and I am not good at asking questions.  But I know he had a hard life.  And I know he had a hard time parenting my father.  And I know he was stubborn.  But I also remember how his physical body seemed to soften just a bit when we would give him a hug.  And I remember the look on his face on that day he let me sit on his chair.  And it was enough to know that I was loved.

I can’t help but think of my grandpa when I watch my dad with my kids.  They are a rambunctious, mischievous, slightly crazy lot but I know he loves them.

He lets them sit in his chair.

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