The Old Recliner

The Old Recliner…Twenty years ago, when my husband turned forty-years-old, I bought him a brand new leather recliner.  Next month, The Old Recliner will be twenty-years-old and my husband will be sixty.  Together, they have seen a lot of changes over the past twenty years.  Three daughters graduating high school, three daughters getting married, and nine grandchildren joyously birthed into the family.

Even though the leather is starting to get very ragged and worn, how can I ever throw out Papa’s recliner? It has become a part of our family.  After all, our first grandson slept peacefully for three hours while Papa held him in his arms afraid to move so as to not awaken him. (Papa’s are like that; yes they are.)  Then, the other babies came, one by one, all precious little bundles being held by Papa in Papa’s recliner.

Over the years, I have watched “Papa” go from being dark headed to grey all while resting each night in that old recliner.  A many good ballgames and movies have been watched from that old chair!

It’s also in nearly every Christmas picture for the past twenty years.  It’s a prize possession… that old recliner.  Even though it doesn’t exactly go with the rest of the living room pieces, it sits proudly knowing it has been here longer than any other piece in the living room.  It takes top prize…that old recliner.

Isn’t it funny how things, like an old recliner, become more sentimental to us as we grow older? A simple fruit bowl given to us as a wedding gift; a crystal vase; a set of dishes that we once didn’t even like suddenly becomes meaningful just because they are older and managed to somehow never be thrown out over the years!

I believe that we hold on to these things because they remind us of our life; much like a patch-work quilt.  Each piece telling a story.   And, as life passes us by, holding on to them becomes more and more precious.

I have a few items that once belonged to my grandmother on my father’s side. She died when I was only two years old.  So, I never really got to know her.  But, for me, having those pieces have made her to feel more a part of my life.

I have, what people call, a “Pie Safe.”  It’s over seventy-five years old.  My dad says that my grandparents started out housekeeping with it back in Cherokee County Alabama in the early 1930’s.  Oh, how I wish I had never redone it many years ago.  I painted it a pretty cream color and added new hinges and knobs.  Today, I think I would love having all of the original paint, pealing decals, and scratched hinges.  Yet, it is lovely in my kitchen holding my mother-in-law’s Blue Willow China from Churchill England.  The two seem to make the perfect match; the cabinet and the dishes.

I also have my grandmother’s cedar chest filled with old family pictures and keep sakes from my daughters when they were little girls and in school.  Memories; all precious memories.

It’s funny how a simple aging recliner can suddenly take us back to a place long forgotten and rekindle the memories tucked away inside of our hearts.  Truthfully, I hope that old recliner holds out another twenty years and holds even more fonder memories as our grandchildren head towards adulthood and one day have children of their own.

I also hope that when my grandchildren marry they will want some of Meemaw’s and Papa’s belongings.  After all, handing our precious items down to our grandchildren helps us to know that we will live in their hearts and lives after we, too, have passed from this life.  A piano; guitar; gold bracelet; string of pearls; dining room table; antique table; cherry-wood bedroom set, and my grandmother’s pieces.  All hoping to be handed down to another generation of life with as much hope that they will add flavor and enjoyment to their lives as they did mine.

But, right now…I’m just sitting here enjoying “The Old Recliner,” and all that it means.  For one day, I, like the recliner, will be “old,” aging, and worn out.  Yet, I know that my children and grandchildren will still cherish me and the memories they hold in their hearts of our time here together on Earth….For though the recliner is man-made and will one day eventually be replaced…Love and all that it represents will never fade…and can never be replaced.

So, today, you might have your own “old recliner” sitting in your home that you wouldn’t take a hundred dollars for…..But, please don’t make that offer to my husband, because he’d probably take you up on it and even help load it up for you!

Oh, the joys of being sentimental…A recliner by any other name is…simply a recliner.  But, that old recliner… Papa’s Recliner…now there’s a treasure…

Remember, God Loves You (and, He just might love my old recliner, too!)

Lin T. Rollins, Author