By Joe Rector
We recently sold our condominium in Gallatin. The timing seemed right: Madden is now a teenager, Lacey’s family is always busy with something, and the price of the extras was mounting. The sale was easy. We listed the place one day and sold it the next. I suppose it truly has been a seller’s market. We didn’t need many of the items in the condo, so Amy got busy working her magic on Facebook. We sold most of the big items, and a fifteen-foot U-Haul truck carried the remainder of stuff back home. Many of those items were donated to places in Knoxville. Two special items we kept were a rocker and footstool. They are now in my little office and fit perfectly with another special chair.
This rocker came from Cookeville. It was Amy’s stepfather’s place of comfort in the family room. Poppa watched his favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, while sitting in that chair. He’d wear his house shoes and prop his feet on the stool. I haven’t liked that team since the days of Bob Hayes, Don Meredith and Calvin Hill. When my father-in-law watched the team, they usually beat opponents handily. He’d grin and look at me and rub in the fact that his team had again beaten mine.
Poppa also carved while he sat in that rocker. He made willow tables, among other things. They require small pieces of wood for decorating the edges. The man would cut the same size hunks of wood from every piece. On an occasion or two, he didn’t pay close enough attention to his work. The result was a cut on one of his fingers. He’d suck in air quickly, close his eyes, and scrunch his face. A dousing with alcohol was followed by a Band-Aid to cover the cut, regardless of how bad it was. Then he’d sit back down and continue the process. Nothing much deterred him from completing his crafts.
Poppa rarely wore glasses, but as he sat in that rocker, he’d put them on and then read from his bible that sat on the table beside it. He was a devoted Christian who gave his heart to his God and his mind to the lesson that the Lord taught. That activity is the one I most like remembering when I sit in that rocker.
The other chair in my office was the one that my mother used when we were growing up. If she sat down to watch television, it was in that chair. Most of the time, she stood while she watched and ironed jeans and shirts and sheets and slips. Our days were coming to an end, but Mother always seemed to have one more item she needed to check off her list.
On Sunday after church and dinner, Mother would retire to that chair with the Sunday paper. She loved to read and would go through the entire paper as she curled her leg under herself. Sunday television usually had few shows to entertain children, but Mother would have something blaring on the set, more for noise than for watching. It was her time to unwind and prepare herself for another week of teaching elementary school students. I can see her clearly still curled up in a ball and with her head lying on her arm. Those Sunday naps somehow helped her get through a life that was long on work and short on recreation.
Both of these furniture items have plenty of years on them. Mother’s chair was Snoop’s favorite, and he slept and peed on it. No, it doesn’t smell bad, but some stains still show. Poppa’s chair has been recovered more recently, but it still sits like an old seat that longs for someone to keep it company. I’m glad I have these chairs and the memories that go with them. They help bring back special memories of two people I loved.