Memories of an old wooden rocking chair
n By Ol’ jim cathey
On The Back Porch
The houses we lived in during my formative years were mostly small and the porches were not big enough to allow a rocking chair or any other type of furniture. But I know there were rocking chairs at various times in those homes.
My first memory of a rocking chair would be at my Grandparents house in Lockney.
My Dad was in the U.S. Army during World War II and he and his company were captured by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, so Mom and I lived with Mama and Papa Hop in the early 1940s.
My memory pictures Papa Hop rocking in that old chair with me sitting in his lap as he told me story after story about his early years there on the high plains of Texas and I was convinced that I would become a dashing cowboy and live a life of adventure. He would often sit in that old rocking chair and read the Bible as we gathered around after supper. Those were days filled with memories.
Later, as younger brothers and sisters came along, there would be various rocking chair episodes and stories. I was determined that when I had a home of my own, a rocking chair would be a must. And today, on the back porch sits an old wooden rocking chair and it has held court for nearly 50 years. Definitely a source of enjoyment for me and my young bride Stella.
That ol’ chair is purt near as old as our marriage and we have been married for over five decades. It’s just a wooden rocking chair, nothing fancy at all, but it has a lot of stories to tell because it has been there to see and hear a lot of life, love, laughter, prayer, and a few tears, and a lot of cowboy poem practice. It has seen children at play, birds and squirrels, dogs on security patrol, cats and kittens napping or just dropping by for a bite to eat, probably possums and racoons and maybe a skunk or two. And it never complains! Oh, it might creak a little but that’s just country music and is soothing to the soul.
In fact, the old rocking chair echoes the word of Jesus when in Matthew 11:28 He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Ahhh the memories…I’ve heard it said that an old rocking chair could also be called “a memory chair!”
That Ol’ Rocking Chair
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
They say Grandpa came to America with it, an’ you had to admit,
It was a dang good idea,
‘Cuz just like in that Psalm, it shore helped you get calm,
Purt near as quick as a tortilla.
Country homes had a porch, to sit an’ cool when sun would scorch,
After the day’s work had been done.
You’d hear the creak of that ol’ rockin’ chair, of an evenin’ sittin’ there,
Where many a tale is spun.
An afternoon you’d sit an’ rock, maybe churnin’ butter in that ol’ crock,
While saying “Thank You” to our Lord,
But of an evenng you’re sitting there, gently rockin’ in that ol’ chair,
Then life’s troubles you’d discard.
See, the gents ride the range, an’ that ain’t about to change,
They’ve got a family to support,
Now you know the wives are in a tizzy, while the kids are just too busy,
So the old timers hold court.
Now this old timer reflected on the past, yes, his day had come at last,
An’ his thoughts went down the trail,
He was just a button then, that’s how it all begin,
Life’s goals you reach, tho some you fail.
He gave that ol’ chair a rock, then he quietly took stock,
Of mem’rys that come floodin’ in,
Some came from a way back, others piled into a stack,
Most all of ‘em gave him a grin.
You see old timers find the time, easier than those in their prime,
To just sit an’ reminisce,
Often memories flood your mind, sometimes so quick you get behind,
So, some you must dismiss.
Those memrys jumbled some, he knew there was more to come,
A feller gets bogged down in his past,
He nodded an’ his breathin’ got slow, those mem’rys kept comin’ tho,
Flittin’ through his brain purty fast
You could hear a certain tune as that rockin’ chair seemed to croon,
As it creaked on that ol’ wooden floor
A gentle south breeze rustled the leaves in the trees,
As if to let you know there was more.
He slept on sorta quiet, revelin’ in a dreamy fight,
He come out champ at that barn dance,
Well, he give a snort an’ come awake, gave his ol’ rheumy head a shake,
Knowin’ he’d be tops in any brawl.
Then he heard the chow bell ring, this mornin’ nap a normal thing,
He pushed up just balancin’ there,
He’d come back right after chow, he’d finish this job somehow,
It was tough, workin’ a rockin’ chair!
© Ol’ Jim Cathey
Psalm 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.
God Bless each of you and God Bless America!