Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Rocking Chair

I don't think anything turns a house into a home more than a rocking chair. Just the presence of a rocking chair evokes warm feelings. A rocking chair embraces and comforts. Its rhythm soothes your soul. Its never-changing melody feels like a familiar hug every time you sit down and put your arms in place and push your feet ever so slightly. It becomes an old friend, a good friend. A rocking chair links generations. Those once the infants and rocked in the chair become the adults doing the rocking and comforting sometimes late into the night or all through the night as the wind might blow or the rain might fall or the snowpiles might grow higher or the magical moon might shine brighter. A rocking chair can tell a family story-and it's a story little ones love to hear.

When I think about rocking chairs images of my grandmother in her farmhouse kitchen come to mind. Although her time during the day was limited, sometimes she was able to squeeze in moments to relax or read or hold a little one on her knee or in her arms in the rocking chair sitting next to the woodstove. I also think of my mother. When my sister was little, my mother loved rocking her to sleep in the early afternoon. She'd hum a little ditty over and over. That's all it took. Soon both my sister and mother were sound asleep. I also think of my father's mother. While I only have a few memories of her, the most vivid one involves a small rocker with ornate woodcarving on the arms and back and a distinct creak as she went back and forth-sitting in the chair with an apron over her house dress and her hair gathered on top of her head and the aroma of something delicious cooking. I rocked my children in an old wicker rocker. I now rock my grandchildren in a rocking chair that had been in that farmhouse. The rocking chair most always does its magic.

As life gets faster and faster and family members spread out around the globe, the thought of a rocking chair can slow us down and bring us back together-whether the memories are of a farmhouse or a penthouse-an apartment or a clapboard house in a neighborhood of clapboard houses. If a rocking chair shared our growing up and our get-togethers and our holidays and birthdays and other times of joy and sadness, that rocking chair will keep on rocking in our hearts no matter how far we roam or how old we get.

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