Thursday, February 18, 2010

While visiting some new friends for the first time, I noticed an old rocking chair sitting in the corner near the door. When we were saying our goodbyes later, I asked about the history of the rocker. The friendly couple told me it had been in their family for well over one-hundred years.
Looking at the chair, I saw the original mahogany finish was intact on all but the arms. In those two places it was worn down to the grain of the wood. My hand reached out and rested on one of the arms. With quite an impact, it struck me that the wearing-down had been done my human hands. One-hundred years of hands. Pictures began to ebb and flow in my imagination: The stained -glass quality of home-made quilts; shawls covering tired shoulders; a Bible-reading grandfather; the loud tick of a clock.
Most of those who found comfort in the chair are gone, yet the rocker still stands. What might we hear if it were possible to relive the past through touching the old wood? A child's soft, "coo?" A mother's song? Or, the night winds hissing under closed doors? Would we hear the partings as young men left for war? Leaving only the space they had occupied behind? Then, a woman's tears?--a father's sighs?Would we hear the rhythm of a garden hoe through the open windows, or the ring of an axe, echoing across the fields? The whinny of a work horse, the cranking of a Model T?
I remembered a rocker that was very similar. It was the favorite resting place of my great-grandmother, Allie Moore It sat in front of the window in my great-grandparents home. There was still a spill-over from the old days at their country home. It was there in the muted fire-cracker sounds of the wood stove in the kitchen, the moss-covered well on the back porch, complete with bucket and dipper. It was in the pantry, where the pies were left to cool amidst the shelves of Blue Willow china, and in the oilcloth covered table holding a cut-glas vinegar cruet and matching salt and pepper shakers; in the kerosene lamps, sending dancing, yellow light into shadowy corners. There are hundreds of things in memeory to tell my grandchildren, but all I have are words, and words don't succeed when you want to explain the essence of a feeling. You search the dictionary corners of your mind...how unsatisfactory they are.
The neighbors chair sits silently, keeping its secrets, resting for now with harmony, beauty and gentle people. I, for some reason, cannot do the same. Science has bounded across these last 50 years like a giant kangaroo. Our world appears slick and packaged and jet-propelled. Could be these ARE better days, but it seems a shame to deprive our youth of their heritage as seen through the eyes of someone who experienced at least a part of it. And so, I'll go on trying...with inadequate words.

9 comments:

  1. Audrey, that is one of the prettiest things I've ever read. Your words are more than sufficient to paint pictures in my mind. You have quite a way with a pen. More than that, you had experiences that not all have and an appreciation for simple things that many lack. I got hungry for pie! I'm glad you took me with your through your memories and I'm better for the trip:)
    Debbie

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  2. Your words are magnificent! I could feel the memories as you touched the chair. I could see your memories clearly with your words. Keep writing.

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  3. Dear One,
    To think that there is so much history in an item that stirs up thoughts about life is refreshing.

    God bless you and may you have a nice wk-end,
    d

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  4. Touching and thought-provoking Audrey, thank-you Sister.

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  5. Hi Audrey, I can't think of how I happened by here but am so glad I did. Love your writings. Come visit, Mollye

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  6. Hi Audrey, we're showing Judy how to post a comment!

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  7. Your right on that is us christians. I how I miss my mate of 58 years and I do give praise knowing he is in a better place. Immigrant Daughter

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