Have A Seat

This was the second Thanksgiving since Daddy died. Mama’s house is full of sad reminders that Daddy is no longer with us but the most glaring is his empty leather recliner. “Daddy’s chair” still sits in the same room, in the same corner, in the same position that it has for years.

Thanksgivings past, Daddy would have supervised Mama’s cooking. He would have asked repeatedly what time we were to eat, then grumbled with a smile that whatever time she’d said was too early, or too late, depending on which he hoped might aggravate her the most. It would have been fun to hear him playfully pester her again.

But that empty leather chair reminded us that no, he was not there.

As we helped ourselves to turkey Daddy would have commented “Is that all you’re going to eat?” or “Did you leave any for me?” depending on how full he deemed each plate. He would have eaten dessert in his chair, hidden the TV remote in his pocket, and dozed off only to suddenly pop up and respond to questions asked from across the room. How comical it would have been to again hear him alternately snore, then comment on the various conversations going on in the room.

But that empty leather chair reminded us that no, he was not there.

Daddy also had a second recliner out on his screened porch. It had been on the same part of the porch and in the same position for years. He’d sit there on nice days to discuss life with neighbors, friends, or his grandchildren. Not long ago we threw that old recliner away. Years of “Daddy” had worn it out. The empty space left after hauling away the old chair smacked us in the face.

After Thanksgiving dinner the other day all of the grandsons headed out to sit on the porch where they’d grown up listening to Daddy’s stories. My son Evan hadn’t been on the porch since before the old recliner was removed. I wondered if he’d notice and how he might be affected by the giant void left after taking away Daddy’s “throne”.

The grandsons were out there a long while. I suppose they talked about whatever five cousins who grew up spending hours with their grandfather in that space might talk about. Finally they came back into the house. I asked Evan if he had noticed that the old recliner was gone. He very quietly said yes, it felt weird to them all, and that they had “moved some things around”.

Not knowing exactly what he meant, I went to see for myself. In addition to Daddy’s recliner there have always been several plastic lawn chairs out there for use when friends and family visit. The chairs stay lined up along one side of the porch. I opened the porch door and saw the line of white plastic chairs positioned as usual, but one was missing.

While they talked together out there, the grandsons had moved one plastic chair from the row and placed it where Daddy’s recliner always sat. They put it on the same part of the porch and in the same position as his old chair. Those five young guys spent time that afternoon in a place where each alone, and together, had spent time with their grandfather over the years.

It would have been like old times for them if Daddy had again been holding court from his recliner, lecturing, advising, or laughing over his own dirty jokes. It was obvious that his absence bothered them all.

But that empty plastic chair reminded them that yes, he was still there.

Stuart M. Perkins

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130 Comments

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130 responses to “Have A Seat

  1. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I bet even without the chair, it was like their dad was still there.

  2. This is the first Christmas since my Mother died. Sadly, I don’t have a tactile reminder of my Mama in the way of furniture but, rather, in the jewelry she left behind that belonged to her and my grandmother. Each time I wear them and clean them I have a loving reminder of a woman who hard a horribly hard life of abuse and pain, but who only brought softness and love to me, her only child. The tangibles are important to those of us left behind and I fully enjoyed your story about your Dad AND your Mom. Beautiful. Happy holiday and my very best wishes in the New Year!

  3. Reblogged this on Scraps and Heirlooms and commented:
    The other day I asked my daughter why she always enters the house through the garage when she visits (she will text me “wer’e here, open the garage”. She said that whenever she enters the house through the front door, she sees her dad sitting in the big recliner in the living room (her dad passed away January 2012).

  4. I really loved your piece on your daddy. I lost my father this year just a week before Christmas. Somehow I gravitated to the “seat of honor” at the dinner table. Oh, boy, it felt strange. He was a man of integrity, of responsibility, who loved God, his country and his family. He saved my ass from several bad situations. He was my hero. He will always be missed.

  5. Wow… this was a beautiful post. Your dad sounds like a loving man, he is in a better place.

  6. It never leave does it. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  7. powerful post and great if sad imagery

  8. Wow. Having just lost my daddy this touched me deeply. I too, am familiar with the sad little reminders. Very well written.

  9. A precious memory, well-told. Thank you for following my blog.

  10. Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing your memories:)

  11. Great story of your Daddy. Yes, they never leave us, but it is so hard to not be able to touch them or hug them. The memories and the love we share never die.

  12. Some blogs are worth finding and reading. Yours falls in that category.

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