The chair next to the wood stove has become one of my favorite places to sit when I here at The Ranch.
The recliner is old and brown with the cross-hatched weave that seems ubiquitous to recliners; I have no recollection of where it came from. Over the top where the head rests is a small cattle skin that I think may have actually come from my Great Aunt who originally owned this place. There is a small lamp to left with an almost 19th century glass shade terminating at head level. The chair itself is wedged in between the entertainment center and the brick raised corner that the wood stove sits on - the brick hearth a convenient height to place books and a coffee cup on.
My father TB The Elder sat here for years and years, either reading or napping or talking. The couch across the way room was where he would sit to watch television, but this is where he would often sit - especially in Winter - to read or work the iPad my brother-in-law set up from him or nap.
The chair itself is not wildly comfortable - it is almost too narrow for my medium frame and so my elbows slip off the arms when I am typing (as I am now), which is slightly annoying and feels a bit odd. And certainly - known from pragmatic testing - I cannot nap in this chair the way he did. At best I can relax for a spell; whatever power this chair had to grant sleep, it has evaded me.
In the mornings when I here, this is where I will do my praying and reading and journaling and blog reading and my own blogging. The couch is more comfortable (my elbows do not slip off, for example) but that it does not get me nearly close enough to the fire. Also, to be completely frank, I like my warmth and have come to covet the heat of the fire in the Winter mornings.
After my reading and praying and journaling, I will turn off the light with its elegant glass shade and sit in the firelight, reading on-line and typing away. The light casts a fine orange glow when the fire is stoked (as it will inevitably be in the morning), glinting orange light off the exposed metal and giving form to the furniture and pictures hanging in the room, if not detail. The hum of the heat fan on top of the stove is my only companion in sound, except for the pops and crackles of the fire.
It occurred to me this trip, as I was sitting typing away, of perhaps how much time my father spent in this very spot over the last 20+ years. Likely this was the place that, up to the end of 2020, he would have read my blog post every morning. This is the place where he would have sit and thought about his children, hoping perhaps that they would be able to move up. And undoubtedly in the last few years, this is place where he dealt with the reality of the fact that my mother had a condition that he somewhat understood but never expressed fully, and what was he to do.
Certainly this place does not have the same sort of historicity that, say, an inn in New England with "Washington Slept Here" would have, nor does this chair carry about it same aura of any of the thrones of royalty would have. But for all its commonness, it shares with them a distinction that few places have: Greatness was here. Greatness sat here.
I am certainly not that some sort of magical power has infused this chair and this place that can somehow seep into me as I sit here. That said, it does leave one with the sense that one should strive to worthy of the person that sat in this chair before me.