Friday, October 21, 2011

Dad's Chair

I guess I’m not much of a furniture person. It doesn’t matter if it matches or looks right, but I need a chair. In most homes with a man in residence there is a special chair; his chair. There he relaxes after a hard day; from there he exercises his authority. Women may have their own chair as well, but they seldom sit in it; I’m not sure why. I guess it’s because they are too busy … doing stuff.

Therein lies the problem. Just because women don’t take the time to sit down, doesn’t mean that men won’t. I don’t think my wife, Rhonda, fully appreciates why I need a good chair to call my own. I didn’t realize this until a series of events unfolded in my house over the course of a couple days.

One of Rhonda’s friends brought over a chair she was no longer using. No harm there, as we have plenty of storage room in our buildings and I have extra tarps. I had almost forgotten about the chair when on the eve of the third day Rhonda had me come out to look at it.

Something about it didn’t sit quite right with me, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. The color was rather nondescript (as most colors are to me). At Rhonda’s urging I sat in it. It was comfortable enough, but it lacked something.

She asked if I needed help in carrying it to the garage. Did you catch it? Hidden within her question was also a directive: she wanted the chair in the garage and eventually the house. That was already decided. The offer to help me carry the chair was merely a ploy to advance her agenda. I let it slide.

I was able to carry it myself with little difficulty, which should have been a big clue as to why I wasn’t thrilled about this chair. The next step took very little time, but it was an important one. When the new chair came into the house it replaced my chair.

My chair – the chair from where I caught up with my papers, watched movies with my children, fell asleep, meted out justice, delivered wise counsel, and solved the problems of the day.

Well, it could be replaced I suppose, with the right substitute. My chair had become worn and the color had fallen out of fashion. When I sat down in my usual spot the shortcomings of this substitute became obvious. It certainly wasn’t too big, and it wasn’t just right. It had been built for either a child or a woman.

“This chair is too small,” I growled.

I should have noticed it before it came into the house – but without the proper perspective I didn’t realize how inadequate this new chair was. It was narrow and low and its arms were bony and weak. There was no way I could be the man of the house in this chair.

If a man’s home is his castle, then his chair must be his throne. I was at risk of being abdicated, overthrown. As far as I know, my father never had this problem.

Dad had his chair, and it was his whenever he wanted it. A simple look or a subtle gesture would displace anyone who occupied it. Often it didn’t match the carpet, the drapes or any piece of furniture in the neighborhood, but that didn’t matter.

It was positioned so that Dad could monitor both the TV and the outside world without moving his head. From the comfort of his chair he ruled.

“What are we watching?” “Quiet, I want to listen to the weather.” “Where are you off to?”

And when he fell asleep after a long day Mom would bravely touch him and say, “Why don’t you go to bed Tom?”

Dad wouldn’t have put up with such nonsense so I didn’t either. I got my old chair back. Except for my chair, furniture is really not that important to me, so does that make me a chairman?

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